Hearing loss doesn’t always mean that you are unable to hear properly or that the sound are not quite loud. You may find that your kid doesn’t respond most of the time from a distance or that his or words are not that clear. In fact, delays in speech as well as language development and sometimes even educational progress can be the signs of hearing loss.
The consequence of hearing loss on any developing child is not the same as a hearing loss, that occurs in adulthood. Basically, children make use of their hearing ability to learn about everything, which they see around them & thus develop their communication skills.
In Australia, about 9-12 children per 10,000 at the time of births are with a greater or moderate hearing loss in both the ears. About 23 per 10,000 acquire this, which requires hearing aids.
If you’re bothered about your son or daughter’s hearing ability, the first thing that you should do is call your GP and check out whether there is any ear infection that exists or any other kind of medical condition that your child has. If that is ruled out a paediatric hearing test is all that will be done and for this you will need to visit an audiologist who can help you in determining the extent of the hearing loss in your child. After all, the severity of the hearing loss is basically measured in terms of how it impacts the daily life of the child.
Your audiologist is going to choose the test, which best suit the age, circumstances and ability of your child. This will basically involve a combination of physiological and behavioural tests. No reason to panic! In fact, its always a good idea to have your child’s hearing assessed as quickly as possible so that they can get the support early on.
For instance, audiologists in Bulleen usually do a test & check the middle ear to find whether the ears are congested. They even test to know how clearly the children are able to understand the words by letting them listen to a speech through the headphones. After all, middle ear infection or otitis media is the most common childhood complaint. It is mostly related to fluctuating or temporary hearing loss, which in turn affects the learning, language and behavioural development of the child. However, if the test results indicate hearing loss, the audiologist confirms the result by retesting.
The most common paediatric hearing tests include:
Behavioral observation audiometry (BOA)
Visual reinforcement orientation audiometry (VROA)
Oto-acoustic emission testing (OAE)
Brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA)
Electro-cochleography (ECochG or EcoG)
Tympanometry and acoustic reflex