Your Child's Hearing
Children with hearing loss can't tell us they don't hear well and they probably behave very differently than many of us imagine. Many children with hearing loss do respond to some sound. The only way to find a hearing loss in a child is to test for it. If you think your child may have a hearing loss, ask his/her pediatrician for a hearing test.
Symptoms of hearing loss in a child:
- Inconsistent or no response to sudden loud sounds.
Speech or language development seems slower than other children his/her age.
Tires easily and may have difficulty paying attention.
You have to repeat things more often for your child, than for other children of the same age.
Your child seems to “hear” better if s/he can see your whole face when you talk.
How is a child's hearing tested?
The method used to test your child's hearing will depend on the age and ability to cooperate with testing procedures. Hearing can be tested at any age. So do not wait to have your child's hearing tested.
Otoacoustic emissions are performed by placing a small ear piece at the child's ear. S/he will listen to a sound and the ear will create a sound in response.
Auditory Brainstem Response testing (also called ABR or BAER) is performed by placing sticky receptors on the child's skin to pick up responses from the nerves as sounds are presented to the ears through earphones.
Visual Reinforcement Audiometry includes a fun or unusual visual stimulus (lights or a toy) that is coupled with a sound.
Conditioned Play Audiometry allows younger children to “play” while responding to the sounds they hear. This allows the pre-schoolers to participate in an exam, while obtaining reliable results.
Standard hearing testing can typically be achieved with a child who is functioning at a 5 year old level.
There are many situations where your child's hearing may be screened. Your baby's hearing will probably be screened at birth. Your child's hearing may be screened at the pediatrician's office and at school. If your child does not pass a hearing screening don't panic. There are many reasons that a child may not pass a hearing screening, although a true hearing loss is one of those reasons. Having fluid in the ears or having the test in a noisy environment could also cause a child to be referred for further testing. Being referred for further testing is a time for action, but not a time for panic. Be sure to schedule a follow-up test if your child does not pass a hearing screening. Many children are found to have normal hearing when given a re-screen or diagnostic testing.
If your child is found to have a hearing loss, remember that the earlier the loss is discovered and treated the better your child will adjust. Test your child as soon as you have concern about your his/her hearing; give your child every opportunity to be a leader of our future.