What is Pediatric Audiology?
Pediatric audiology is the branch of audiology specializing in children’s hearing. It is different from diagnosing and treating adult hearing issues because children may not be able to answer diagnostic questions the way adults can, due to lack of language skills or vocabulary, or lack of understanding of how hearing is supposed to be.
Due to these limitations, different tests are used to diagnose children’s hearing loss (see below).
Children are also growing and changing rapidly, providing additional challenges for treatment, which often needs to change and adapt as the child grows.
Diagnostic Testing for Children’s Hearing
The diagnostic hearing evaluation for children is performed by a pediatric audiologist who performs a series of tests to determine if the child has a hearing loss, and if so, to discover:
- The type of hearing loss (which part of the auditory system is affected).
- The degree of hearing loss (how much hearing loss exists).
- The configuration of hearing loss (which frequencies or pitches are affected).
We use state-of-the-art technology to diagnose children’s hearing loss. Our tests are conducted in a fun, game-like way, to keep children engaged and at ease while we collect the data required for an accurate diagnosis.
Key Components of Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations for Children
Children may experience permanent hearing loss after an unspecified period of time after birth, called late-onset or delayed-onset hearing loss. If a child is diagnosed with mild, chronic or unilateral (one-sided) conductive hearing loss, or if they are at risk of developing progressive or delayed-onset hearing loss, audiological monitoring is recommended.
Pediatric audiological monitoring allows the pediatric audiologist to monitor children’s hearing abilities, as well as hearing aid details and performance, over time. Caregiver-report questionnaires may be used along with other measures, such as aided speech perception.
Tympanometry is an objective test of middle-ear function which tests the mobility of the eardrum (i.e. tympanic membrane), the conduction of the middle ear bones, and the condition of the middle ear by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal.
While tympanometry is not a hearing test, per se, it is a measure of energy transmission through the middle ear which can help in the diagnosis of hearing loss.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
When functioning normally, the cochlea (in the inner ear) produces low-intensity sounds called otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). But when a child has a sensorineural hearing loss of 30dBHL* or greater, these OAEs are absent. There are two basic types of OAEs that we test for:
- Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAE).
- Transient Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions (TOAE).
Both of these OAEs are easily measured in children, and make up an important part of the children’s hearing test.
* dBHL stands for Decibels Hearing Level, which is the level of sound measured in decibels (dB) relative to the quietest sounds that a young healthy individual should be able to hear.
Allow Us The Privilege of Caring For Your Child’s Hearing
We’re not just Doctors of Audiology – we’re also parents. We understand how precious your little ones are, and how you’re looking for the very best care for them.
What sets our practice apart is our caring approach, and that’s especially true for our littlest patients.
We know how a hearing loss can be frightening for some children, and we take extra care to help your little ones understand everything we’re doing, and feel confident with their hearing solutions.
We ask you for the privilege of caring for your child’s hearing and promise to care for them as our own.
Learn More About Children’s Hearing Loss
How to Recognize Hearing Loss In Children – And What to Do About It
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss In Children
6 Loudest Children’s Toys That Can Damage Their Hearing
Protect Your Child’s Hearing At School
4 Back To School Tips For Children With Hearing Loss
Good Hearing Habits Start Young
Hearing Loss In Children With Diabetes
Don’t Let Temporary Hearing Loss Turn Into ‘Lazy Ear’
Meningitis Causes Hearing Loss In Children
Obese Children At Greater Risk For Hearing Loss
A Child With One Lost
Emotional Effects Of Untreated Hearing Loss in Children
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