pediatric hearing testing

All newborns are screened at birth for hearing loss, typically prior to discharge.

If they refer upon the screening, the birthing hospital will refer the family for diagnostic Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing at specifically equipped facilities. For newborns and infants under age 6 months, Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing is necessary to determine hearing levels. The younger this test is completed, the easier it is to obtain results while the infant sleeps naturally. It is extremely important to the child’s long term development to follow up as recommended and as soon as possible.

Once a child has enough head control, typically about age 6 months, we are able to provide testing at Hear Joy Audiology. Tests that may be used with children in our office:

What to expect at a hearing test

These sessions last 30 to 60 minutes, though the actual testing may be much shorter based on the individual child’s attention. We ask you to bring the child in at a time of day that they are awake and alert. Feel free to bring a bottle or favorite toy. You and your child will be in a sound treated room for testing. Quiet is necessary. We ask that you leave extra young children home or have someone else watch them in the waiting area. They cannot go in the sound booth with you and the tester cannot mind a child and test at the same time. We also need the room to be as quiet as possible. If you have to bring extra children, we can do our best, but you may have to reschedule if they are too disruptive.

Dr. Rancourt will discuss the results with you immediately, make recommendations and then send a report to the pediatrician and any other team members.

visual reinforcement audiometry

1. Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)

VRA is used for children from about six months of age to about three years. This method of testing initially pairs a sound with a visual reinforcer, usually a toy that lights up and/or moves, located to either side of the child. We begin by presenting the sound and lit toy at the same time. After a few trials, the tester will present the sound but NOT activate the toy. We will watch for your child to turn and look for the toy to light up or move, at which point we will know that he or she has heard the sound. Then the toy will be activated as a reinforcer to reinforce your child’s responding. This will be repeated until we obtain enough frequency specific information to determine hearing levels by frequency and decibel level.
play audiometry

2. Play Audiometry

For children from about three years up to four or five years we may use play audiometry. We may use it with older children to keep them engaged. Your child will play a game based around hearing a sound. We will model doing something every time we hear a sound, such as placing a block in a bucket. We may ask you to help us. Once the child has the idea of “hear something, do something”, we will determine the levels at which they barely hear by frequency. The game may be adapted as needed to maintain attention for as long as we need to obtain complete information or until attention is lost. We may have you practice this task at home and/or bring a familiar toy
speech audiometry

3. Speech Audiometry

Speech audiometry is used to determine how well your child hears or understands speech. With younger children it may simply be a matter of getting them to look to one side or the other when they hear speech sounds. Older children may be asked to point to pictures of objects, actual objects, or to their own or a doll’s nose, feet, belly, etc. Older children may be asked to repeat words.