Nearly one out of every thousand babies is born with some form of hearing loss. For most of these children, their hearing loss is not discovered until they are at least two years old. Untreated hearing loss at this young of an age can have a significant impact on their emotional development as well as their learning and communication skills.
The only way to identify and diagnose hearing loss in a young child is through an infant hearing screening.
Below are tests your child’s St. George hearing doctor will perform at such a screening.
Auditory Brainstem Response Testing
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing requires electrodes to be placed on your child’s head to record their brain activity in response to sound. ABR testing provides your child’s St. George audiologist with information on their inner ear and the neuronal pathway that connects the ear to the brain.
This is a subjective test, which makes it good for measuring hearing loss in children.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) testing is used to determine if there is damage to the hair cells within your child’s cochlea. OAEs are the barely audible sounds given off by hairs inside the inner ear when stimulated by sound. In order to tell if these sounds are present, a small plug is placed into the ear in order to detect the ear’s reaction to a series of clicks.
This test is objective, making it a useful addition to newborn hearing screenings.
Middle Ear Testing
Middle ear exams are a collection of tests used to measure how well your child’s middle ear is functioning.
Tympanometry is used to detect fluid, wax buildup, eardrum perforations or tumors within the middle ear. It measures the movement of your child’s eardrum in response to air pressure; the results are recorded on a chart called a tympanogram.
Acoustic Reflex Testing
The acoustic reflex test measures involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear and is used to determine the location (the ossicles, cochlea, auditory nerve, etc.) and type of your child’s hearing loss.
It is extremely important to determine if your child is suffering from hearing loss. The only way to know for sure is to have them tested. Contact your St. George hearing doctor today to get started.