Pediatric Hearing Diagnostic Services

Hearing Tests for Babies & Children at Mercy

Working in partnership with our women's services department, pediatrics department and newborn hearing services, our St. Louis audiology clinic has grown to be the third-largest pediatric diagnostic and treatment site in Missouri. Audiologists at the Mercy Audiology and Hearing Aid Center in St. Louis are certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and are licensed by the Board of Registration for the Healing Arts in Missouri. You can be assured of receiving quality care. 

Every baby has a newborn hearing screening following birth, prior to leaving the hospital. Click below for more information:

Audiometric Evaluation

A series of tests will be administered to determine the child’s hearing abilities. Some of the tests will be chosen based on the child’s age or cognitive abilities.

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (6 Months - 2 Years Old)

The child is conditioned to look in the direction of the presented stimulus. When the child does look in the correct direction, a toy will light up to reinforce the behavior. 

Conditioned Play Audiometry (2 - 5 Years Old)

The child is conditioned to do an activity each time a sound is heard. This activity may include placing a peg on a board or a block into a bucket.

Conventional Audiometry (6 Years and Older)

The child is instructed to raise his or her hand or to push a button when the auditory stimulus is heard.

Speech Reception Threshold (SRT)

A Speech Reception Threshold (SRT) evaluates the softest level a person is able to hear and repeat two-syllable words.

Word Recognition Score (WRS)

The Word Recognition Score evaluates how well a patient is able to repeat words correctly when the words are presented at a comfortable volume level.


During a tympanometry test, a small probe is placed in the ear canal. The probe will alter the pressure in the ear. This test allows the audiologist to determine the function of the middle ear. 

Acoustic Reflex Threshold

This test is a middle ear measurement. Tones are presented into the ear at various pitches and at a higher intensity level through the use of a small probe.

Otoacoustic Emission Testing

A small probe is placed in the ear canal. A sound is presented in the ear, which stimulates the cochlea, the hearing organ.  A healthy cochlea will emit an emission or an echo that can be measured. This test is used for newborn hearing screenings as well as in a battery of tests when a diagnostic hearing evaluation is completed.

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

This is an objective test that is used to estimate hearing sensitivity in difficult-to-test patients such as infants. Testing is typically completed during natural sleep on infants who are under 6 months old. ABR testing can also be used to assess the neural integrity of the auditory pathway to aid in the differential diagnosis. 

Electrodes are placed on the forehead and behind the ears. Sounds are presented in each ear through the use of earphones. Brain waves are analyzed in response to the presented sounds. No behavioral response is necessary for this test.

Auditory Processing Evaluation

An auditory processing evaluation may be recommended if a school-aged child or an adult displays difficulty listening and comprehending auditory information. This testing can only be completed on those who have normal hearing and intelligence. A child must be 7 years old prior to being evaluated to allow for the maturation of the auditory system. The evaluation includes a series of tests that are administered in a sound booth.  The length of the evaluation is approximately two to three hours. 

Cochlear Implant Evaluation

The cochlear implant evaluation is a two-hour visit involving extensive testing of your or your child’s hearing. This testing is performed in a sound booth both with and without hearing aids. The information obtained from this evaluation will help the audiologist determine whether or not you or your child is an audiologically a candidate for cochlear implantation. If so, the audiologist will spend time educating you about cochlear implants and the cochlear implantation process. If you have not already met with a cochlear implant surgeon, the audiologist will also refer you to a surgeon in the region.

Pediatric Audiology Videos