Pediatric Audiology

Hearing HealthCare, Inc. offers audiological evaluations and hearing aid fittings for newborns, infants, and children with hearing loss. This early detection and intervention provides the child with the best hearing solution for improved language skills and to help foster academic and vocational success. We believe this improves the quality of life. All of our doctors have years of experience in testing children. When the need arise, they all have expertise in hearing aid selection, verification and fitting. 

Depending on the age of the child, audiological testing is completed via three different modes and various physiological measures.

Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA)

CPA is a variation of conventional audiometric testing (explained below) designed to be used with patients about two to four years of age or older patients who are developmentally delayed. This form of testing may be performed using insert earphones, traditional headphones or using speakers, all in the sound booth. The patient is given a small toy and is asked to hold it up to their ear, listen for a "beeping" sound then quickly put the toy in a bucket once the sound is heard. This method is also used with speech stiumuli to determine the softest level the patient can hear speech. Depending on the age and emotional development of the patient, the testing may require two audiologists, what we call a "team test"

Physiologic Auditory Tests

Physiologic auditory tests are not direct measures of hearing. Instead, they measure auditory function. Some of these tests, however, are correlated with difference degrees of hearing or hearing loss.

  • Tympanometry (tympanogram) - This type of acoustic immittance test assesses the health of the middle ear system and takes about three to five seconds. A small probe tip is placed in the ear canal. Sound is presented and recorded. A computer plots the movement of the eardrum by measuring the amount of sound reflected back. It is not painful, but does feel a little stuffy for a few seconds.

    This is an important test measure in children especially when trying to determine the presence of middle ear fluid.
  • Acoustic reflexes - Another type of acoustic immittance test, this test assesses the integrity of a neural loop from the inner ear to the brainstem and back to the middle ear system. The same probe tip assembly is used in this test as is used in tympanometry. These is routinely not checked in children.
  • Otoacoustic emission (OAE) - This test assesses the outer hair cell function in the inner ear (cochlea). It takes about three minutes per run. A probe tip is placed in the ear canal. Sounds are presented and an "echo" response recorded. The response is very faint so the patient must be extremely quiet during the test. Because the response is so faint, it may be obscured by the presence of ear wax, middle ear pathology (for example, fluid, pressure) or the presence of pressure equalization (PE) tubes. This testing is also used for Newborn Hearing Screenings.

Hearing Aid Fittings for Children

Fitting hearing aids on children is different than it is for adults. Adults can often tell their audiologist how well a hearing aid seems to work, if certain sounds are too loud, or if speech sounds garbled or not clear. Young children have a harder time expressing these issues.

For this reason, it is important to find a pediatric audiologist with extensive experience in fitting hearing aids on children. A child's early years are important for speech and language development, finding the most appropriate hearing aids for each child is very important. Hearing aids must be fit individually for each child.

Everyone's hearing is unique to them. Therefore, the hearing aid needs to be as well.

Some important factors that a pediatric audiologist will consider when selecting hearing aids are:
  • Degree, cause and shape of the hearing loss
  • Durability and service of hearing aid models
  • Compatibility with special amplification systems used in schools