The Importance of Hearing Evaluations In Children
Have you ever thought of getting an audiology evaluation for your child just before they start school? Maybe you haven’t, but do you know that there are thousands of children in the US who have hearing loss?
Hearing is critical to speech and language development, communication, learning, and literacy. As such, it is essential to have an audiology evaluation while your child is growing to avoid hearing loss in your child.
Childhood hearing loss can be congenital, delayed onset, acquired or progressive in nature. Furthermore, mild hearing loss cannot normally be identified through a routine hearing screening due to the limitations of the testing equipment – and the methodology of testing used.
An early hearing evaluation can lessen the chances of having a complications with hearing loss in a child before they enter school. So, let’s look at the importance of hearing evaluations in children.
Criteria For Hearing Evaluation
The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing has certain criteria for a hearing assessment in children:
- Screening for hearing loss should not be later than one month of age
- Hearing and medical evaluations should be completed no later than three months of age
- The age of early intervention services should begin no later than six months of age
- An infant with a confirmed hearing loss is fit for amplification (if the family agrees) within one month of diagnosis
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a hearing evaluation be performed on children as early as one month old.
Why Should a Child Have a Hearing Evaluation?
A hearing evaluation is important to make sure a child is passing all their developmental milestones for hearing, language and speech.
A screening test in the hospital can detect 80 to 90 percent of hearing ability of a child, but one has to understand that this type of screening test isn’t perfect to determine a hearing ability.
The objectives for an audiological evaluation are:
- Assessing the reliability of the sensory system in each ear
- Checking hearing sensitivity across various frequencies
- Assessing the type of hearing loss (if present)
- Establishing a baseline for future monitoring
- Gathering important ear-related information that may be needed to start an amplification device fitting
A comprehensive evaluation has to be performed on both ears even if the first one passes the screening test.
Pediatric Audiologists and Children
The role of a pediatric audiologist in providing pediatric audiology rehabilitation services is considered to be more comprehensive than a regular audiologist.
Our pediatric audiologist on Staten Island is qualified to perform a diagnostic assessment of hearing and to confirm and authorize hearing aids. They may screen for speech, language, communication skills, and cochlear implants for hearing loss and provide aural rehabilitation therapy to a child.
Both Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Fulman of Audiology Island stress that the purpose of seeing a pediatric audiologist is for an early diagnosis and early intervention. This will help your child develop strong speech and language skills without any unnecessary developmental delays.
Key Components in an Audiological Evaluation of Infants and Children
Audiological evaluations of infants and children up to the age of 5 years are performed by a pediatric audiologist. They determine the presence of hearing loss in children through a series of components:
- Case history documentation
- Auditory brainstem response
- Auditory steady-state responses
- Otoacoustic emissions
- Behavioral audiometry
- Audiological monitoring
Remember, as a parent, you might suspect a hearing loss before an expert does. So take your child to a pediatric audiologist to help them enjoy an active and complete lifestyle.
Do your best to give your children the best opportunities for achieving success and help take care of their hearing before anything serious happens.
Over to you – tell us your story of visiting a pediatric audiologist with your child.