Ovens & Murray Advertiser - North East Regional Extra

Testing children’s hearing

- with Diana Bienvenu, Wangaratta Audiology

MANY adults may have some idea about what is involved for them to have a hearing test - push a button when you hear a range of beeps.

It can be quite a different experience for younger children.

For children between about six months of age and school entry, the hearing test is frequently designed as a game.

Audiologis­ts are experience­d at working out the relevant test procedures for each individual client, although not all clinics are equipped to assess children’s hearing.

Newborn babies have a hearing check in the first few days of life, usually at the hospital.

This involves testing the response of the brain to sound while the baby is asleep to show whether hearing is adequate in each ear for speech and language developmen­t.

For an infant who can sit unsupporte­d, warbled tones are presented through speakers on each side of the child.

Each time the child turns their head to correctly localise the sound, they are rewarded.

Most young children are sufficient­ly interested in this game to respond even when the tone is very soft and a good indication about the hearing can be obtained.

This task can be used to show whether hearing is adequate for speech and language developmen­t.

As the young child gets a little older, often around age three, a different technique is used.

We call it ‘play audiometry’. They are encouraged to make a play action, like putting a peg into a board or a block into a bucket, each time they hear a sound.

This test can identify whether hearing is normal

Around the time of school entry, a child can respond in much the same way as adults might be asked to do, without the game.

For both school-aged children and adults, we also check the clarity of what is heard using some words at soft levels.

At any age, another test, called tympanomet­ry,

is used to show how the middle ear is functionin­g.

Inserting a small tip into the ear canal and changing the pressure gently against the eardrum provides informatio­n about whether any middle ear fluid or ear popping problems exist.

This test is very handy to see whether children’s middle ear problems have resolved.

Please let us know if you have concerns

about your child’s hearing at any age.

Other reasons for concern might be some delay in speech and language developmen­t or middle ear infections.

There is a test available for every age and ability level and we find that many parents enjoy watching their children respond during a test.

Our clinic phone number is (03) 5722 4433.

 ?? PHOTO: Diana Bienvenu ?? While most adults understand what’s involved in a hearing test, there are a range of games used for children of different ages.
PHOTO: Diana Bienvenu While most adults understand what’s involved in a hearing test, there are a range of games used for children of different ages.
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