With access to several different tests which can help to identify a child with hearing loss, the audiologist will determine which assessment will be most effective depending on the child’s individual needs. The parent/guardian must be present with the child during the duration of the testing.
Audiology Clinic Services
During otoscopy, the audiologist visually inspects the child’s ear and ear canal using a small light. The audiologist looks for any signs of blockage, infection or abnormalities.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
Otoacoustic Emissions testing can detect damage to the hair cells in the cochlea which can cause hearing loss. The test is completed by placing a small headphone in the child’s ear.
Tympanometry is a test which can identify middle ear disorders that may require medical attention, such as perforation of the eardrum, middle ear fluid and wax blockage in the ear canal. To perform the test the audiologist places a soft ear tip in the child’s ear canal and takes less than a minute to complete.
Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)
During visual reinforcement audiometry, the child and their parent/guardian sit in a sound booth while the child is trained to look toward a sound source. Once the child gives a correct response, such as looking toward the source of a sound when it is presented, the child is "rewarded" with a visual stimulus (e.g. animation or illuminated toy). Visual reinforcement audiometry can be used with children as young as six months old.
Conditioned Play Audiometry
Conditioned play audiometry is commonly used with toddlers and preschoolers. The child is trained to perform an activity each time a sound is heard. The activity may involve putting a block in a box or stamping a rubber stamp on a paper when the child hears a sound.
Services for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students
Certified Deaf/Hard of Hearing students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) may receive services from the audiologist. Services provided depend on the student's individual needs as detailed in the IEP.
Services can include:
- Selecting, fitting and validating hearing assistive technology in the classroom.
- Functional listening evaluations to estimate a student's access to auditory information in the classroom setting.
- Amplification troubleshooting.
- Visual inspection of the ears.
- Middle ear screening to determine if middle ear fluid is present.
- In-servicing school staff in the best practices to use with students with hearing loss.
- Educating students about their hearing loss to support self-advocacy skills.