Pediatric Hearing Evaluation

The sense of hearing is very critical for the speech, language and cognitive development of a child Specific tests are carried out to evaluate the hearing of a child.Test may be classified into subjective and objective tests. As children may not be able to respond as reliably as adults, objective tests play a major role in the evaluation process.

Subjective tests require a response from the child and usually make use of toys, games, and lights to elicit responses to tones, noise, or words. The hild may wear headphones or listen to the sounds in a room with speakers. Subjective tests done for children are:

a) Pure tone and speech audiometry
b) Play audiometry
c) Visual Reinforcement Audiometry
d) Behavioral Observation Audiometry

Objective tests do not require a response from the child, but rather they have to be still or in deep sleep. These tests are crucial to identify hearing loss in children. Objective tests include:

a) Tympanometry
b) Acoustic Reflex threshold test
c) Auditory Brainstem Response test
d) Oto-acoustic emissions
e) Auditory Steady State Responses

The audiologist conducts a test battery which includes both subjective and objective tests to confirm the degree and type of hearing loss. Once a diagnosis is reached, the parents are counseled regarding the need for rehabilitation, hearing conservation, hearing aid fitting or speech/auditory therapy.Patients are also referred backto the concerned doctors.