Pediatrics: Hearing Loss in Children

No child is too young to have his or her hearing tested. At Northwest Hearing and Tinnitus, we focus on children ages 3 and up. Identifying hearing problems early is important. The sooner a hearing problem is found, the sooner managing hearing loss can begin. This allows for the best possible outcome for your child. If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing, speak with your pediatrician or make an appointment with one of our audiologists.

Screening all babies within the first month of life is generally recommended. Infancy is an important time for speech and language development. If the screening tests identify that your child has a hearing loss, further testing may be needed. Below are common hearing tests that are performed on children and infants.

Hearing Tests for Infants and Children

There are two primary types of testing methods for children and infants, including newborns. These may be used alone or together depending on your child’s needs.

  • Tympanometry: This is a test of middle ear function. The audiologist will see how well your child’s eardrums respond to pressure changes. It is painless and can be completed in less than one minute, without any feedback from your child.
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE): An audiologist inserts a small, flexible tip into your child’s ear to introduce soft sounds. A microphone will record the otoacoustic emissions of the ear in reaction to the sounds. This testing helps us determine the health of the inner ear organ of your child, without any response. This only takes a few minutes, and can be done while the baby sleeps or remains still.

If your child is older than about three and able to respond to simple instructions, we may utilize conditioned play audiometry to gain further information regarding hearing sensitivity.

  • Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA): Conditioned play audiometry is a noninvasive way for us to playfully interact with your child and obtain more specific hearing threshold data. Your child will be trained to perform an activity each time a sound is heard, such as putting a block in a box or putting a ring on a cone.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric-friendly audiologists.