Child hearing test

In the first few years of life hearing is a critical part of a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development. Even a mild hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech and language.

Most children born with hearing impairment can be diagnosed through hearing screening before they leave the hospital. But in some cases, hearing loss may develop later caused by ear infections, virus or other health ailments. It is important to have your child’s hearing evaluated if you suspect signs of hearing loss.

Signs of Hearing Loss

An infant or toddler does not tell its parents when they have a hearing loss. However, the following signs may point to a problem with hearing as your child grows:-

  • Limited or poor speech
  • Frequently inattentive
  • Difficulty learning
  • Answers inappropriately to speech
  • Listens to the TV at loud levels

How Do We Test

There are several methods for testing a child’s hearing and the method chosen is determined by the child’s age and ability.

Middle Ear Function Tests

The most common type of hearing loss children experience is due to a middle ear disorder such as middle ear infection. Tympanometry is a quick test that can assess the function of the middle ear and fluid build up. All children receive a middle ear test as part of their hearing assessment.

5 years+

Pure Tone Audiometry under headphone conditions (same as adult hearing test) is used for older children.  The child is seated in our sound proof hearing booth (door can be closed or open, depending on child’s preference) with a remote control  Each ear is played a beeping sound as the audiologist moves through the different levels of frequency and decibels. The child presses the button on the remote if they hear a beep.

Results of the test is provided as an audiogram report with the child’s hearing plotted to indicate normal hearing threshold (20db or lower).

Play Audiometry – 3 years+

Play Audiometry is used for pre-school children where the child plays a “listening” game. The child places a block in a bucket when a “whistle” is heard. The whistle responses are used to determine his or her performance under headphones to assess each ear on its own, or with a free field speaker to assess the better ear.

7 months to 3 years

Visual Reinforcement Orientation Audiometry (VROA) is used to assess the hearing of a child aged from 7 months to 3 years. The child is conditioned to turn towards an animated and illuminated puppet when they hear a sound. Again, this test can be performed in free field or under headphones.

Infants under 7 months can have their hearing assessed by observing the infants’s reactions to a variety of noise makers. The infant will startle, pause or look around to certain sounds. However, objective test such as Auditory Brainstem Response Testing and Otoacoustic Emissions are the preferred method for assessing a young infants hearing.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

CAPD is where a child can detect sounds at normal levels but can not process the sound information accurately. When this occurs in children it can lead to learning difficulties and sometimes behavioural issues.

View Central Auditory Processing Disorder page for more information.

Fee

$139.50 – Child Hearing Assessment and Report (excludes CAPD assessment).  Appointment approx 30 minutes. Payment at appointment.

Medicare: NO rebate unless patient has an Enhanced Primary Care Plan referral from their GP, OR a referral from an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist or Neurologist. You must submit the receipt to Medicare to receive your rebate.

Health Fund: HiCaps is not available for audiology, thus check with your health fund to see if hearing test is covered under your policy. Receipt with the clinician’s provider number will be provided to claim on your health fund.

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