There are several kinds of hearing tests for children. The kind that is best for your child depends on their age and abilities.

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)

Otoacoustic Emission (OAE) testing is one test to measure how the inner ear is working. This test does not need the child to tell or show that sounds are heard. The test is done by putting a small earphone into the ear canal. The earphone plays several tones. Otoacoustic emissions are “echoes” released by the cochlea (organ of hearing) in response to these sounds. The “echo” is measured by the earphone in the ear. That information is recorded by the audiologist.

Tympanometry

Tympanometry is a quick test of middle ear function. This helps to see if the ear is healthy. This is not a test of hearing. Tympanometry results can show fluid, a pressure equalizing tube, a hole in the eardrum, or a healthy middle ear. This test can help decide if medical treatment is needed. Tympanometry is one of many tests that is done during an appointment.

Auditory Brainstem Response (Newborn Hearing Evaluation)

The Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Evaluation is a way to measure how well the hearing nerve sends information to the brain. This test is usually done on infants and small children. It is also useful for anyone who cannot or will not cooperate with routine testing.

Behavioral Testing

The behavioral audiologic evaluation is a test to check the auditory system. It measures a child’s hearing abilities. The test has many different parts to check the outer, middle, and inner ear. There are different ways to test different ages.

Ages Testing Methods
6 Months – 2 Years Your child is trained to listen to sounds. When your child turns their head in the direction of a sound, they are rewarded with a video or toy lighting up.
2-5 Years Your child will play a game in response to sounds. For example, your child is taught to throw a ball into a bucket when they hear a sound.
6 Years and Older Your child will raise their hand or press a button when they hear a sound.

Preparing for your visit:

If possible, do not bring siblings or other children to your child’s audiology appointment. The testing room needs to stay quiet. The parent needs to give all their attention to the child during the evaluation. If alternate childcare cannot be arranged for siblings, we understand. Think about bringing another adult. Or you may want to bring things to keep siblings busy during your child’s hearing test.