At Hear 2 Learn, our goal is to work with families to provide infants with hearing loss timely diagnostic and intervention services. If a baby does not pass the newborn screening assessment, the next step is Diagnostic Audiology.
How Will You Test My Child's Hearing?
At Hear 2 Learn, one of our licensed pediatric Audiologists will collect information about family history of hearing loss, conditions that occurred during pregnancy including maternal illnesses, complications that occurred during labor or delivery, and time, if any, your baby spent in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This will help to determine possible causes of your baby’s hearing loss as well as risk-factors for progressive or late-onset hearing loss.
Upon collecting this information, our Audiologist will assess your child’s hearing and prescribe the appropriate treatment. There are different types of Hearing Assessments, depending on your child's needs and age.
These Hearing Assessments include:
- Auditory Steady State Responses (ASSR) - ASSR Testing is used to measure a baby's hearing. This assessment is used to obtain additional frequency-specific information for infants with hearing loss that ranges from severe to profound. This assessment can be used to inform an audiologists hearing aid fittings or other assistive listening solutions.
- Behavioral Audiometry - For infants 6 - 36 months of age, visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) is usually used. In VRA assessment, the infant is positioned on a caregiver’s lap in a soundproof booth. The child is trained to turn toward a toy or video screen when he/she hears a sound. This type of assessment gives more information about how your baby actually hears sounds.
- Tympanometry - This assessment looks at the mobility of the ear drum and the tiny middle ear bones behind it.
- Diagnostic Otoacoustic Emmissions (OAE) - An inner ear that is functioning normally not only receives sound, it also produces low-intensity sounds called otoacoustic emissions, or OAEs.
- Unsedated Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR Testing) - ABR Testing allows audiologists to find out how your baby’s inner ear and/or auditory (hearing) nerve are functioning.
- Audiological Monitoring - Some infants may experience mild hearing loss that isn't detected then becomes worse over time. Others may experience permanent hearing loss some time after birth. Audiological monitoring is most suitable for children experiencing the above mentioned forms of hearing loss. Audiological monitoring may also be appropriate for children experiencing unilateral hearing loss, mild hearing loss or chronic conductive hearing loss.
How Often Will My Child Need to Have His/Her Hearing Tested?
The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing has set best-practice guidelines for professionals working with infants diagnosed with, or at risk for, hearing loss. They recommend follow up evaluations every 3-6 months after a hearing loss is diagnosed. The exact timing will be determined by your audiologist based upon the specific needs of your child.
Auditory Brainstem Response Testing
What is Auditory Brainstem Response Testing?
"Auditory Brainstem Response Testing," or "ABR Testing" measures a child's neural integrity.
- Auditory Brainstem Response Testing is for infants ages birth to 6 months.
- The Auditory Brainstem Response Test will identify your child's type of hearing loss by playing sounds through tiny earphones inserted in your baby's ears.
- Your baby’s responses to the sounds will be measured using electrodes placed on different parts of your baby’s head (Auditory Brainstem Response).
- The Auditory Brainstem Response test is safe and does not hurt your child.
This assessment is performed while the child is asleep. Sounds are presented to the child’s ears and small electrodes placed near the ears detect the electrical response of the hearing nerve to the sounds. This assessment is very reliable and the results are known immediately.
Please allow one and a half to two hours for this appointment. Assessments are quicker and easier if your baby is sleeping comfortably. During the assessment, your baby will need to sleep for up to 40 minutes.
What to Expect at your Baby's Auditory Brainstem Response Testing
- The most important way to prepare your baby for the assessment is to show up with a baby that is ready to sleep.
- Your baby can be assessed asleep in their car seat.
- Most young babies will sleep through the entire assessment if they are brought to the appointment ready for a feeding and a nap.
- Once you are in the assessment room and your child has been prepped for the assessment, you can nurse or feed your baby a bottle so he or she falls asleep naturally. Please feel free to bring any items (blanket, nursing pillow etc.) that will help your baby sleep comfortably. The assessment will take place while your child sleeps in your arms or in their car seat.
- Electrodes will be places on forehead & behind each ear - our Pediatric Audiologist Specialists will check one ear at a time.
- You will have results the same day the assessment is done.
Questions About Your Child's Diagnostic Audiology Assessment?