How do I know if my child has a hearing loss?
Hearing loss can have many signs, symptoms, and causes. Some common signs of hearing loss are:
- Delayed speech/language development
- Asking for frequent repetition
- The child does not respond when his/her name is called
- Difficulty articulating certain sounds of speech
- Turning up the volume of the television or music
- Not orienting or turning to sounds in the environment
However, some of the signs mentioned above can also be related to other developmental conditions that are not hearing loss. When these signs or concerns exist, hearing loss must be ruled out. The best way to know if your child has a hearing loss is through formal audiological testing by a pediatric audiologist.
Does my child have to be a certain age to have a hearing test?
No, children of all ages can be tested for hearing loss in different ways. Babies up to the age of 6-7 months are tested through Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) testing, which is a way to read responses from the auditory nerve when the baby is asleep. Children between the ages of 7 months to about 5 years old can be tested behaviorally while they are awake through Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) or Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA). Children that are 5 years and older can typically participate in standard audiometry that is also used to test adults.
What can my child and I expect to happen during a hearing test.
Please visit our Diagnostic Audiology Page – What you can expect during your child’s hearing test for more information on this.
What information will the Audiologist need when I bring my child in for the hearing test?
The audiologist will ask you questions regarding the pregnancy and your child’s birth history. You may also be asked questions about the child’s overall health and development, and you will be able to discuss your concerns regarding a hearing loss with the audiologist. If the child has had a hearing test in the past, it is helpful to bring a copy of this test(s) to the appointment.
What if a hearing problem is discovered?
There are a number of different types of hearing losses, causes, and solutions for them. Some hearing losses require medical attention from a physician and can typically be resolved through medical treatment. Other types of hearing losses are permanent and may require the use of amplification such as hearing aids. Still, some hearing losses may be permanent but not require or not be appropriate for any treatment, rather they may just need to be monitored on a yearly basis. If you have concerns at all regarding a possible hearing loss, it is important to seek the help of an audiologist right away. One of the best predictors for successful treatment of hearing loss is timely intervention!