Hearing Care for Children
Most parents anxiously await their baby’s first word, and how exciting it is to hear “Mama” or “Dada” for the first time! Your child’s development of speech and language skills is dependent upon normal hearing. Children learn to talk by imitating what they hear. Most experts agree that the human brain comes “pre-programmed” to develop speech during the first three years of life. This is a critical time for your baby to hear well.
Audiology Island is considered a premier provider in pediatric audiology. We provide hearing evaluations and rehabilitation services for infants and children of all ages and developmental levels. Our primary focus is on prevention, early detection and treatment of hearing loss in children. Hearing loss in children can often go unidentified or dismissed as a developmental delay, therefore early detection and intervention is paramount.
Why Choose a Pediatric Audiologist?
There are many reasons children benefit from seeing a health care expert trained specifically to care for pediatrics. It takes a health care team with the skill, knowledge, focus, experience and specialized training in pediatrics to be able to offer the very best care for kids.
Children are not tiny adults. It takes the discerning eye of a hearing health care professional who is highly experienced in caring for children to be able to make them comfortable in order to obtain an accurate hearing evaluation and implement the needed intervention.
Children and HearingKids are physiologically different than adults, therefore our health care team knows exactly how to use the right approach, both physically and from audiological perspective. And, of course, children communicate differently than adults, so we make certain we are able to answer kids’ questions and help them feel at ease.
With our team of highly specialized pediatric audiologists, New York and Staten Island families have access to hearing tests and evaluations for infants and children of all ages and developmental levels. Our primary focus is on early detection and treatment of hearing loss. We strive to give you and your child complete information and support for making the best decisions about treatment options, technology to improve hearing, and communication options. Your child has access to the most advanced technologies and expert services including diagnostic hearing assessment and educational consultation.
First Steps in Evaluating Your Child for Hearing Loss
- Welcome your kiddo and get them acclimated to our test booth and headphones. We want your child to see the audiologist is not a scary place, we are here to play some listening games! Sometimes the first appointment includes playing games and making sure your child is comfortable with us to proceed with testing. We have light up toys and hungry monkeys to keep your kiddo busy while we gain an idea of what your concerns are as a parent or guardian and why you are interested or were recommended to proceed with a hearing evaluation.
- Obtaining information can entail a few sessions, and this is completely normal! First we are looking to see that your child does not have wax build up in the ear canal. We also want to look for fluid or congestion in the middle ear. Next, we will evaluate how he/she responds to speech and different tones. Our tests include both objective and behavioral measures which serves as a check and balance to ensure the information we are obtaining is reliable and correct. Sometimes obtaining this information can take a few sessions, but it is important that our information is accurate and that you and your child are informed and comfortable about the process.
- Now we have determined your child does or does not have a hearing loss. What are the next steps? 1) My Child Has a Fluctuating Hearing Loss. Follow up will include: frequent monitoring, medical intervention and possibly assistive listening devices. 2) My Child Has a Permanent Hearing Loss. Pediatric hearing aids, aural rehabilitation and an educational component. 3) My Child Does Not Have a Hearing Loss, but I Still Have Concerns About Their Listening Abilities (ages 7+). Auditory processing pre-evaluation followed by a comprehensive evaluation if red flags are discovered. SHould we find weaknesses in auditory processing, we do offer auditory training and therapy to help remediate your child’s difficulties. 4) My Child does not have a hearing loss and I have no further concerns. We have ruled out hearing loss for your child and we are confident they have the auditory tools to develop speech and language. Should any other concerns arise, please feel free to contact us for another evaluation in the future.
Methods of Testing at Audiology Island
Your child’s quality of life and development vitally depend on hearing. Hearing helps your child learn to read, to appreciate music and to receive warnings of approaching harm. Your child will have difficulty coping with many of life’s challenges and opportunities without good hearing. Many modern methods can accurately determine the hearing of a newborn, infant or child. A comprehensive hearing assessment can be completed at any age if there is any suspicion that a hearing problem exists. A case history and otoscopic examination are essential. An audiologic evaluation can help determine if a hearing loss exists in one or both ears at frequencies (pitches) that are critical to normal speech and language development, and if any hearing loss is conductive or sensorineural. Below are some of the audiological procedures that may be included in the evaluation process:
- Conventional Audiometry — The audiologist presents tones at different pitches and loudness levels and the child’s responses are observed and recorded. Speech stimuli are also used and responses are observed and recorded.
- Behavioral Observational Audiometry (BOA) — The audiologist observes changes in behavior, such as sucking pattern, widening eyes, or searching for sound in response to various stimuli.
- Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) — The audiologist uses behavioral conditioning to train your child to respond to sounds presented through a speaker system. Reinforcement is provided immediately by activating a toy that lights up and moves.
- Play Audiometry — The audiologist teaches your child to respond with some action, such as holding a block to the ear and placing it in a bucket whenever a sound is heard.
- Tympanometry — This test measures the movement of the eardrum and the ability of the middle ear to conduct sound to the inner ear.
- Acoustic Reflexes — In a normal ear, the stapedius muscle in the middle ear contracts in response to loud noises at about 70-100 dB (decibels).
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) — A probe in the ear canal measures echoes from the inner ear in response to sound. A normal cochlea creates its own sound in response to sound coming into the ear. If no response is observed, a hearing loss may be present.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) — Electrodes are placed on your child’s head to pick up the brain’s responses to sound directly. No voluntary response is necessary, so it is often used with infants and very young children. It can even be done while the child is asleep. Audiological management is crucial for children who have a history of otitis media and accompanying hearing loss. A multi-disciplinary approach, which may include the primary care provider, pediatrician, ENT physician and speech-language pathologist, should be used. These children should receive periodic hearing evaluations by a licensed audiologist even when they appear to be symptom-free. In particular, hearing assessment should be completed at the onset of the school year for preschool and elementary students, and at least once during the winter months.
Our Doctors of Audiology
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If your child shows signs of speech and language delay or has a history of ear infections, call our office and our pediatric audiologists will be able to evaluate your child and answer all your questions regarding hearing loss in children.
If your newborn did not pass a newborn hearing screening in either one or both ears, it is recommended that your baby receive one follow up re-screening by 1 month of age. If your newborn did not pass a second hearing screening after hospital discharge, it is then recommended that your baby receive a diagnostic evaluation prior to 3 months of age. Also, parents are often good judges of their children’s hearing status. If you suspect hearing loss or if your child has any of the risk factors listed below, then a pediatric hearing test is strongly recommended. In addition, if speech and language delay is present, then a hearing test for kids is also highly recommended.
There are many online hearing tests available today, however when it comes to hearing test for kids, we recommend to visit audiologists specializing in pediatric audiology.
Yes! No child is too young to have a hearing test. We recommend visiting audiologists that specialize in children’s audiology. Even a newborn can undergo hearing testing. Hearing levels of children are evaluated using either “behavioral” test methods or “physiologic” test methods. Behavioral test methods require the child to respond in some manner to different sounds. Physiologic test methods rely on technology to evaluate different parts of the hearing system without a behavioral response from the child. However, physiologic measures do require that the child be quiet and still or even asleep during testing. Often, a combination of behavioral and physiologic techniques is used.