Pediatric audiology is the practice of evaluating a child’s hearing. There are several tools a pediatric audiologist can use to achieve this goal.
Most often, the audiologist will begin by looking into your child’s ears. This is done with a special light called an otoscope. Looking into your child’s ear will reveal if there is wax present and if the eardrum appears normal. Next, the audiologist will perform tympanometry.
Tympanometry is a test that is used to see how your child’s eardrum is moving. This test can reveal whether there is fluid or possible infection behind the eardrum.
Behavioral hearing evaluations are offered at AudioLife for children ages 3 and older. Earphones are placed on your child. Special “games” such as dropping a block in a bucket or building a tower are used to elicit a response from your child when they hear a beep. Picture boards may be utilized to obtain a speech reception threshold. This will tell the audiologist the softest level that your child can hear speech.
Older children will simply press a button or raise their hand when they hear a beep. When a child turns 5 years old, the audiologist will include word recognition testing. This test will show your child’s ability to understand words.
Otoacoustic emission (OAEs) testing will evaluate the function of the hearing organ or cochlea. This test may be used in combination with behavioral testing. A sound is introduced into the child’s ear. This sound will generate a cochlear response and will provide information regarding the health of the hearing organ.
Depending upon the results of your child’s hearing evaluation, the appropriate referral(s) will be made. Should your child be a candidate for hearing aids, AudioLife offers a number of pediatric friendly options and would love to serve your family in this capacity.