Caring for Your Child’s Hearing
All paediatric services at Victorian Hearing are administered by experienced audiologists who have extensive training in assessing the hearing of children of all ages.
- Visually Re-enforced Orientation Audiometry, or VROA, is used from around the ages of 6 months until the child’s attention span is long enough for them to be able to move onto Play Audiometry (generally around 2 ½ – 3 ½ years).
- VROA involves the child turning their head towards a loudspeaker whenever a sound is heard. When the child turns their head towards the sound, a puppet or other entertaining object is presented as their reward. The child will soon learn that when they hear a sound, a puppet is there when they turn their head. As this test is performed in the free field, not administered under headphones, information will be obtained for the better hearing ear and hearing in general. This test can determine whether the child has sufficient hearing for normal speech and language development. However, it cannot eliminate a very mild hearing loss or a hearing loss in one ear. Ear specific information relating to a potential hearing loss in either ear is available once the child is mature enough to perform Play Audiometry.
- Play audiometryis conducted when the child will accept to wear headphones and has a long enough attention span to provide more reliable hearing results. The child will generally play a hearing ‘game’ that will involve placing a peg on a board, or clapping their hands when they hear a noise. Making a game of the testing ensures a longer interest, and will help provide more reliable test results. Play audiometry under headphones allows ear specific information to be obtained.
- Pure tone audiometry is the most commonly used test of hearing ability in both adult and paediatric populations. The test involves listening for a range of beeps and whistles at different pitches and then a response given (usually by pressing a button) when the tone is heard. The volume of the tones will continue to drop until just heard, which indicates to the audiologist your hearing thresholds (or the softest sounds you can hear repeatably). These thresholdsfor each ear are then marked on a graph, known as an audiogram.
WHAT IS TYMPANOMETRY?
Tympanometry is an objective measure of middle ear function, and of how mobile the eardrum is.
A small rubber tip is placed into the ear canal, and a small amount of air is pumped into the ear to measure the mobility of the eardrum, the amount of pressure behind the ear drum, and the volume of the middle ear space.
This test can detect whether there is fluid behind the eardrum; a perforation of the eardrum; Eustachian tube dysfunction; a grommet insitu or blocked, causing or exacerbating hearing loss.
Speech Reception Testing: The two main tests of speech reception ability used at Victorian Hearing are the Kendall Toy Test, and Speech Reception Threshold (SRT).
Speech Discrimination Testing: Speech discrimination testing assesses how well words are understood. For this test, words are presented through headphones at a volume that is easily heard. You will be asked to repeat the words as you hear them.
Kendall Toy Test or KTT is a test which identifies a child’s ability to correctly point out a specific toy when its name is spoken at a minimal voice level, usually 40 dB(A). The child cannot lip read as the speaker will hide their face when talking, and the toys tend to be common toys that a two-year old could identify.