Most people think about hearing aids in terms of older adults who have lost their hearing over time due to age or working conditions. Hearing aids are also for children, however. You, your pediatrician, or even your child's teacher may have noticed that they have difficulty hearing. The first step in helping your child is a hearing loss test. Here's what you need to know about hearing aids and a hearing loss test.
What are hearing loss tests for a child?
A hearing loss test for a child is an evaluation to determine if they have a hearing loss. While most school districts screen for hearing loss, that procedure is not a complete hearing loss test. You need to see an audiologist to understand the whole picture.
A hearing loss test is conducted by a medical doctor called an audiologist, who will look at the child's medical history and ask you questions about your family's history of hearing loss. They will also do a physical examination of the child's ears.
The audiologist will then do a series of tests to assess your child's hearing.
- Pure tone audiometry measures how well the child hears different pitches of sounds.
- Speech audiometry measures how well the child can understand speech.
- Impedance audiometry measures how well the child's ear canal and eardrum function.
What happens during a hearing loss test?
During a hearing loss test, your child will sit in a sound-proof booth, wear headphones, and listen to a series of beeps. While the room is not intimidating, you can enter with your child and let them sit on your lap.
How do you understand the results of your child's test?
After the hearing loss test, you will get a report called an audiogram. The audiogram is a graph that shows how well your child hears different pitches of sounds. The test results are in decibels. The higher the number, the more severe the hearing loss.
What happens if my child needs a hearing aid?
If your child is diagnosed with hearing loss, you may wonder what's next. The good news is that there are many options for treatment, including hearing aids.
Hearing aids come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be custom-fit for your child's needs. The type of hearing aid your child needs will depend on the severity of their hearing loss, although most children wear a behind-the-ear hearing aid until they are in their teens.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone at any age. It is not something to be afraid of or dread. Luckily, we live in a day and age where a simple hearing loss test and a new hearing aid can help immensely.