Hearing loss can happen at any age and it’s very important to get either regular hearing tests or a hearing screening, no matter what age you are! Most newborns are tested before they even leave the hospital and children can get screenings at school or at their doctor’s office.
What is a Hearing Screening?
A hearing screening is a test to see how well you can hear different sounds. If you pass the screening, all is good and you don’t need to take any steps past that. However, if you fail, you may need more testing to check for hearing loss. If you have any concerns about you or your child’s hearing, it’s important to take action and ask your audiologist for a hearing screening. If you fail the screening, your audiologist will give you an evaluation, which is a complete hearing test.
Types of Hearing Tests
There are several types of hearing tests for different ages to check for hearing loss.
Newborn Hearing Tests
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) - This is a test that measures sounds that are produced by the inner ear. A small plastic tip is inserted into your baby’s ear and a microphone then records the reactions of the ear to the sounds. The test is painless and is usually completed very quickly while the baby is asleep or sitting still.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) - While the baby sleeps, clicking sounds are made through small earphones that are in the baby’s ears. This test is used to measure the pathway of sound from the hearing nerve to the brain stem. This test helps to identify that your child has a hearing loss and will determine if further testing is needed.
Hearing Tests for Older Children
- Pure Tone Audiometry - This test uses an electrical machine that makes sounds at different volumes and pitches. During this test, headphones are placed on your head and a hand is raised when the sounds are heard.
- Tympanometry - This is a test that helps determine how the middle ear and eardrum are working. It helps to find any change in pressure in the middle ear, and not if someone is hearing or not. The test is painless and only takes a few minutes per ear.
If you are worried about any hearing loss in you or your child, make sure to contact your audiologist today to get started on screening and testing!