If your infant or toddler is scheduled to receive a hearing test, you probably have a lot of questions running through your mind. Below, three of the most common questions parents have will be addressed so you can go into the appointment with a better understanding of the process:
Question #1: If My Child Isn't Verbal, How Will They Respond to the Tester?
If you're working with a pediatric audiologist, they'll be trained in the ways of non-verbal interaction and communication.
While adult hearing tests usually require verbal responses or another kind of intentional communication, hearing tests on infants and toddlers don't. The audiologist will keep an eye on your child throughout the evaluation to see how they respond to auditory stimuli. These responses could be eye movements, head movements, following directions, or other subtle signs that they've heard a sound.
Question #2: Can I Be With My Child During the Evaluation?
For the majority of infants and toddlers, being separated from their parent and put into a soundproof box would prove to be too traumatizing, making the assessment impossible to perform. For this reason, hearing assessments can (and usually need to) be done with parents present.
The audiologist will explain the process to you. To accurately evaluate your child's hearing, prompting from the parent is not allowed. Your main role will be as a comforting presence for your child in an unknown situation. While the audiologist may request to see how your child interacts with you when you speak, other parts of the exam will be done just between your child and the audiologist, such as visual reinforcement audiometry.
Question #3: What Will a Usual Evaluation Look Like?
While each audiologist and testing facility is different, there are a few basic things to expect at your child's hearing evaluation.
Be prepared to answer questions about your child's overall health, as well as symptoms of hearing loss you see on a regular basis. After a through history has been taken, the audiologist will probably explain the tests that are to be performed. The tests performed will depend on the age of your child, as well as why the exam is being done.
For the most part, a pure tone test will be performed, as well as a middle ear testing and inner ear testing. After all tests are complete, you can expect a preliminary report from the audiologist, though a fuller report may take a few weeks to be completed.
If you suspect hearing loss in your infant or toddler, you may have an appointment scheduled with a pediatric audiologist to perform further testing. While an audiologist will be happy to answer all of your questions and discuss all of your concerns, the above three questions are the most common. For further questions, or for those that relate specifically to your child, it's best to speak with the audiologist who will be performing the test. Contact a company like Hearing Specialists of DuPage with your other questions and for guidance.