A hearing test identifies your child’s ability to hear certain tones. The test will include a visual examination of your child’s ears as well as one or more of the following methods depending on your child’s age and need for diagnosis:
|Otoacoustic emissions (OAE)||Newborns to 2 years||This test provides a unique way to examine the function of the inner ear (cochlea). A very sensitive microphone is placed in the ear canal. Sounds are sent to the child's ear and the microphone records the response to the sound from the cochlea (known as an emission). An absence of emissions indicates loss of hearing.|
|Auditory brainstem response (ABR)||Newborns to 2 years||This test checks the brain's response to sound and is measured by placing electrodes (non-invasive) on the head to record the brain’s response to sound.|
|Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA)||6 months to 2 years ||Your child is encouraged to look towards a sound source and will be “rewarded” through visual reinforcement, such as a teddy bear that lights up and plays a drum.|
|Conditioned play audiometry (CPA)||2 to 4 years ||Your child is asked to perform an activity (such as throwing a block in a pail or putting a peg in a board) each time he or she hears a sound.|
|Conventional audiometry||Older children ||Your child is asked to raise his or her hand or press a button when he or she hears a sound.|
In addition to the above tests, which are based on tones, the audiologist may conduct speech understanding tests that ask your child to listen to and repeat words and sentences. Your child's age and interest in co-operating will determine which method is the best approach.