Hearing is critical in the first few years of life for social, emotional, and cognitive development. Untreated hearing loss can cause permanent language delays and learning disabilities. Even a mild or partial hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to speak and understand language. Hearing problems can be treated if they’re caught early, so it’s important to get your child’s hearing screened early and evaluated regularly. The pediatric audiology staff at Metro Hearing has been specially trained to diagnose and treat hearing loss in children age four and older.
- Premature birth
- A stay in the neonatal intensive care unit
- High bilirubin requires a transfusion
- Certain medications that can lead to hearing loss
- Family history of childhood hearing loss
- Complications at birth
- Frequent ear infections
- Exposure to very loud sounds or noises
Symptoms of a Hearing Loss
- Limited, poor, or no speech
- Frequently inattentive
- Difficulty learning
- Often increases the volume on the TV
- Fails to respond to conversation-level speech or answers inappropriately to speech
This involves careful observation of a child’s behavioral response to sounds like speech and pure tones. The behavioral response might be an infant’s eye movements, a head-turn by a toddler, placement of a game piece by a preschooler, or a hand-raise by a grade-schooler. Speech responses may involve picture identification of a word or repeating words at soft or comfortable levels.
Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test
This brief test is performed by placing a tiny probe in the ear canal, then many pulse-type sounds are introduced and an “echo” response from the outer hair cells in the inner ear is recorded.
*ABR or OAE tests are used at hospitals to screen newborns.
Tympanometry is not a hearing test but a procedure that can show how well the eardrum moves when a soft sound and air pressure are introduced in the ear canal. It’s helpful in identifying middle ear problems, such as fluid collecting behind the eardrum.