Hearing assessments for children

How will my child’s hearing be tested?

To test your child’s hearing, they will receive assessments based on their age and ability. These hearing assessments vary and your child may require between one or more appointments.

Play Audiometry

Play audiometry tests a child’s hearing when using hearing devices like hearing implants and hearing aids. During this test, the child plays the game ‘Connect 4’ and is asked that once they hear a tone to drop a distinct token into one of the columns. A child’s ability to distribute the tokens correctly is used to determine if they can hear effectively. Puzzles, marbles and other strategies may also be used for this test.

Behavioural assessment

In a behavioural assessment we watch your child’s response to sound. This test is used to check if your child can hear the sounds properly and can respond to external stimuli.

Visual reinforcement audiometry

Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) assess the hearing sensitivity of your child by examining their response to sounds of different volume and pitch. In the test, your child will listen to different sounds and be conditioned to turn their head when they hear particular sounds. By identifying which sounds your child can and cannot hear we can identify the child’s hearing threshold, which is the softest sound they can hear at each pitch. Usually a child is seated on their parent’s lap in a soundproof booth during this assessment. The child is trained to turn a toy that lights up and moves when he or she hears a sound. Once the child is conditioned to respond to the sound, the intensity of the signal is reduced to determine threshold of hearing.

Speech Tests

Speech tests check your child’s ability to detect the sounds of speech, such as “m”, “e”, “u”, “s” and “sh” and the ability to understand these sounds clearly. These tests vary depending on your child’s ability. The speech of younger children is tested by having the young child listen to sounds through headphones or speakers. The speech of older children is tested by having the older child listen to words through headphones and then repeat these words or identify pictures of these words.

Otoacoustic Emission Tests

Inside your inner ear tiny hair cells detect sounds and carry this signal to the brain. Otoacoustic Emission Tests (OAE) are used to check if these hair cells are working properly. Our audiologists use this information to investigate the sensitivity of your child’s hearing and help identify any form of developmental anomalies.