Detecting Signs of Hearing Loss in Young Children

Spotting signs of hearing loss in children is essential to their development. Early detection of any hearing problem is critical so that children will not suffer from delayed speech and language skills. Ask your pediatrician about whether your child needs the following tests to help detect hearing loss:

Behavioral Tests

  • Visual Reinforcement Audiometry - For children 6 months to 2-1/2 years. Child turns head toward music and speech sounds.
  • Play Audiometry - For children 2-1/2 to 6 years. Child throws a ball into a bucket when he or she hears a sound.

Objective Tests

  • Auditory Brainstem Response - For newborns to 6-month-old babies and for older children for whom behavioral testing is not appropriate. Electrodes are taped to the child's head while he or she sleeps to monitor changes in the brain waves when the child hears a sound.
  • Tympanometry - For all ages. A soft probe is placed in the ear canal and various amounts of air pressure are pumped through the probe, which contains a miniature microphone. The microphone records the changes in the sound as it bounces off the eardrum.

If you have concerns about your child's language development as a result of hearing loss, temporary or otherwise, consult your physician or a speech-language pathologist.

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