Paediatric Hearing Assessment
Hearing assessments for children are a specialist area and must be done by an experienced Audiologist. We use specific questions to gather information relating to your concerns, your child’s history of general health and development, as well as ear health and hearing healthcare to date.
We carefully inspect the outer ear and eardrum for signs of pathology, before testing how the middle ear is functioning (checking for glue ear, fluid behind the eardrum and perforation of the eardrum).
We measure your child’s hearing levels, establishing the type and severity of hearing problems, as well their ability to understand speech. The results are analysed, explained to you and communicated to other healthcare professionals.
At Medical Audiology, we have the equipment and experience to test children’s hearing reliably, regardless of their age, developmental level or additional needs. Below is a list of techniques we apply. Please note that the actual technique we use will depend on the child’s developmental level, and we may use multiple techniques or adapt them for your child’s specific needs.
Behavioural Observation Audiometry
This is a technique for testing hearing in infants before they can show systematic responses to sounds (under 6 months). Experienced Audiologists observe the baby’s behaviour for specific changes in response to a range of sounds. This testing is usually done in a sound booth while you hold your baby in a comfortable position. The results are combined with advanced tests of ear function to provide you with a comprehensive insight into your baby’s hearing.
Visual Response Audiometry
For children aged from 6 months to 2 years and 6 months, we use dancing puppets as highly rewarding visual stimuli to train and assess children’s reaction to sound. We will explain the procedure and your role to you before seating you in a sound booth with your child. It is a very interactive and fun procedure tailored to maximise interest and cooperation in this age group. The objective and analysis of responses are very serious however; our experienced Audiologists analyse the results for validity, repeatability and consistency to provide you with an accurate picture of your child’s hearing obtained through play.
For children aged from 2 years and 6 months to 5 years, we use a ‘listening game’ test paradigm. In a sound proof booth, children are taught to perform a task in response to sounds heard through earphones. At Medical Audiology, we have multiple games available (building block towers, hammering, basketball and others), but the activities are only limited by the children’s and audiologists’ imaginations. This is a highly rewarding technique for young children, and when used by experienced Audiologists, it often provides a full range of reliable results, similar to adult testing.
You do not need a referral for a hearing assessment. For most efficient outcomes, it is best to have available any previous test results and reports.
As trusted Audiologists, we work closely with GPs, Ear Nose and Throat Specialists and Neurologists to ensure your child receives the best care.