Pediatric Hearing Services
Does my child have hearing loss?
Most babies have their hearing screened before leaving the hospital after birth. If your child did not pass the newborn hearing screening, it is very important to schedule a follow up test with an audiologist. Detecting hearing loss early is very important for developing speech and language. There are some behaviors that may give you an indication your child may have hearing loss:
- Your baby does not startle to loud sounds.
- At 3 months, your baby does not coo at times, calm, or make eye contact when spoken to.
- At 9 months, your child does not turn toward you when called from behind or make babbling sounds,
such as "baba."
- At one year, your child does not babble or use a variety of consonant sounds.
- At 18 months, your child does not use single words.
- At 2 years, your child does not repeat words or phrases.
- Your child uses gestures, pointing, and/or grunting to communicate.
- Your child has frequent ear infections.
- Your child has speech and language delays.
- Your child responds inconsistently to sounds. Your child asks for frequent repetition.
- Your child seems to be very “visual.”
- Your child’s speech is difficult to understand.
- If you have concerns, don’t wait to have your child’s hearing tested!
How do you test a child's hearing?
Evaluating newborn infants and young toddlers is typically completed using objective test measures. The 2 objective tests used are Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) and Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE's). Behavioral testing in the sound booth is also complated with young children, statring at 5 months of age, using visual reinforcement and conditioned play tasks. For most children age 5 and older, a traditional hearing test can be completed. However, some children are more difficult to test and require objective tests to help confirm the resultss obtained in the test booth.
The audiologist you work with should be able to give the test results on the same day you are scheduled for your appointment. There are some times when only part of the information is obtained and we will need to see you for another appointment to complete testing. All children are different and we try to accomodate their needs for testing.
What happens if my child needs hearing aids?
Hearing aid(s) are recommended when hearing loss is identified. There are different types of hearing loss; the most common are Conductive or Sensorineural hearing loss. Some conductive hearing losses can be treated medically. The goal is to identify permanent hearing loss by 3 months of age and dispense hearing aids by 6 months of age.
Hearing aids for children are the behind the ear (BTE) style with earmold and are available in a variety of fun colors. When a child has a severe hearing loss and does not benefit from hearing aids, a cochlear implant may be recommended. Cochlear implants are special devices that are surgically implanted by a trained otolaryngologist. The audiologist completes the programming of the cochlear implant device. It, too, is available with pediatric options. You will be scheduled with a pediatric Audiologist for a Hearing Aid Evaluation following the diagnosis.
At this appointment we will discuss your child’s hearing loss in detail and simulate the hearing loss for you. This will help you understand the amount of hearing loss your child has. Hearing aid options and colors will be discussed and selected. Earmold Impressions will be taken to have earmolds made. You will also select the color of the mold(s). You will be given a folder of information and resources, if you have not been given this at the time of identification. We will discuss the information inside in detail.
Any questions you have will be addressed. If further testing is necessary this may be attempted at this appointment. You will need to get your child established with an Ear Nose and Throat Physician. We will refer you to the Division of Specialized Care for Children and Early Intervention
Pediatric Hearing Team
- Anna L. Bussing, AuD
- Suzi M. Pokrzywinski, AuD
- Valerie A. Ray, AuD
- Brittney D. Reidy, AuD
- Caroline Montgomery, MS, LSLS AVEd