Dr. Becky Guy is a Pediatric Audiologist who received specific training to accurately diagnose and treat hearing impairments in babies/children. All pediatric testing is completed in our Hearing and Balance Center in Waldorf, MD. There are many tests/protocols that can be utilized to find out the following: (1) Does your child have a hearing loss? (2) If a hearing loss is identified, how significant is their hearing loss? and (3) What type of hearing loss do they have? The hearing test is simple and non invasive. The type of test chosen is based on the child’s age, as well as cognitive/physical ability.
Specific pediatric tests offered at Freedom Hearing Center are as follows:
1). Newborn hearing screening: Today, the vast majority of newborns receive a hearing screening before they are discharged from the hospital. While most infants can hear within normal limits, 1 to 3 of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. have hearing levels outside of the normal range. Two types of objective test technologies can be used to screen for hearing loss in newborns: otoacoustic emissions (OAE) and the auditory brainstem response (sometimes called ABR test or BAER test); however we are only equipped to perform OAEs. If an ABR is needed we have a list of alternative local facilities available upon request. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all babies who do not pass the first screening, have a complete hearing test before 3 months of age.
2). Conventional Hearing Test: This test requires that the child respond in some way (verbally, by picture pointing, raising a hand, or through a “game”) to soft sounds produced by an audiometer. By the age of three, these types of tests are generally appropriate. For younger children, beginning at about six months of age, other behavioral hearing tests that reinforce a baby’s response to test sounds using an animated toy can be used accurately.
3). Transient Evoked and Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (TEOAEs & DPOAEs): For younger infants, or for children who cannot reliably do behavioral test procedures, more objective tests can help determine hearing abilities. OAEs involve recording a “cochlear echo” in response to test signals. This provides further information on hair cell functioning in the cochlea.
4). Acoustic Admittance (acoustic reflex testing/tympanometry): This objective test will measure the child’s middle ear function to help determine the presence of fluid behind the eardrum or aid in the diagnosis of middle ear problems.
After all appropriate evaluations are completed, a treatment/intervention plan is formulated that depends upon the degree and configuration of the hearing loss and whether the loss is expected to progress.
Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop communication, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start receiving services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential. If you are a parent and you suspect that your child has hearing loss, trust your instincts and speak with your pediatrician right away, and then call our Waldorf office to schedule an appointment! For further parent resources click here.