On your first visit to an audiologist, he or she will ask you questions about your medical and hearing history. Next, the audiologist will look into your ears using a light, called an otoscope, to check for anything in the ear canal that might affect the test results or that may require referral. Finally, the audiologist will conduct test(s) to assess:
Additional tests may include acoustic immittance testing, otoacoustic emissions testing, or Eustachian tube testing.
You may be seen by an ear, nose and throat provider for a medical evaluation on the same day as the audiologist, or you may be seen only by the audiologist. Diagnostic tests may be performed individually or in combination.
If hearing loss is identified, hearing aids and/or other hearing assistive devices may be recommended. Hearing protection devices and ear plugs for use while swimming and showering may also be recommended. Evaluation and fitting of these devices is provided by the audiologists at Mercy.
No child is too young to have his or her hearing tested.
Our testing is customized depending on a number of factors, including age and developmental level. Mercy employs pediatric audiologists with experience testing children from birth to age 18. Infants who are identified with irreversible hearing loss can be evaluated and fitted for hearing aids. Follow-up evaluations and resource referrals are also provided.
Although diagnosing hearing loss and fitting hearing aids in infants and toddlers can be challenging, our experience working with children of all ages and difficulties allows us to provide proper care. For infants and young toddlers (ages 5 months to about 2.5 years of age), visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) is used. During VRA, the child is seated on the caregiver’s lap and sound is presented through speakers on the right or left side, or if the child will accept them, through foam insert earphones. The child is conditioned to turn in response to the sounds, and a toy or TV screen is lit when the child turns toward the sound.
For preschool children (ages 2.5 to about 5 years of age), conditioned play audiometry (CPA) is used. Typically, the sounds are presented via headphones and the child is trained to drop a toy in a bucket when the sound is heard. The sounds become progressively softer until the child’s threshold for hearing is found.