According to the American Pediatric Association, hearing issues in infants and young children can have serious repercussions. The ability to hear is a basic aspect of a child’s language development. A child can find it challenging to understand and speak words even with temporary hearing loss. That is why you should bring your child in for a pediatric hearing screening. If you want to understand what this comprises, here is what you should know.
Newborns must go through one or two hearing screenings. Detection of hearing problems should happen before the infant turns three months. Treatment needs to start before six months of age in order to achieve the best results. The following tests may be conducted on their own or in combination:
Auditory brainstem response (ABR) — This test uses wires or electrodes that the pediatrician adheres to your baby’s delicate scalp. As your baby sleeps, the test produces clicking sounds through the small earphones in your baby’s ears. ABR measures your baby’s brain activity as your baby hears the sounds. This is a short, painless procedure.
Evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAE) — This screening uses a flexible plug that can fit into your baby’s ear. Sounds travel through the plug into your baby’s ear, where a special microphone records the normal ear’s responses or otoacoustic emissions as a reaction to the sounds. A baby without emissions has hearing loss. The pediatrician conducts this test while the baby is sleeping.
The pediatrician can perform ABR and EOAE on toddlers together with the following tests:
Play audiometry — This test uses a machine that relays sound at various pitches and volumes into your toddler’s ears. Your baby will wear earphones. Instructions will reach your child during play. The results of this test rely on your baby’s cooperation.
Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) — This test tells your toddler to look toward a source of the sound. If the child looks at the correct source, your baby will receive a reward. This test is usually performed in children from six months to two years old.
Behavioral audiometry. This is a hearing screen that allows the pediatrician to observe the behavior of toddlers in response to different sounds.
Children who are at least three years old will undergo the mentioned tests as well. Then, the pediatrician will perform the following:
Tympanometry or impedance audiometry. This hearing test can assess the pressure changes in your child’s middle ear. It can be challenging to perform on a child because the child must sit still.
Pure tone audiometry. This test uses a machine that produces sounds in your child’s ears. Your child hears the sounds with a pair of special earphones. The pediatrician then asks your child to respond to the tone.
Healthy hearing helps your child’s development. At Advanced Pediatrics PC, we make sure that all screenings are comfortable and fun for our patients. For in-person consultations, you can visit our clinics in Elmhurst (next to Queens Center Mall) and Jackson Heights, New York. If you want to schedule an appointment or inquire about our pediatric hearing screening packages, you can call us at (718) 271-2600.