Hearing Services for Kids
When a baby is born in Victoria they are offered hearing screening via the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP). This is conducted using automated Auditory Brainstem Response (aABR) testing and is completed during the first few weeks of a babies life. This is used to identify babies with possible permanent hearing loss that require referral to have diagnostic Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing completed. This process in often competed within the first six months of the babies life. Babies and children with risk factors for progressive or later onset hearing loss may be identified and monitored as part of the screening process.
Cassandra Kerr Audiology offers private paediatric/children testing outside of the VIHSP. This includes VRA, Play, PTA and Immittance Audiometry.
Immittance Audiometry (Tympanometry and Acoustic Reflex testing) is conducted on all age groups. High frequency tympanometry (1000Hz probe tone) and a broadband reflex is often used for children under 6 months of age. Those over 6 months, including adults, will generally be tested with a 226Hz tone and reflexes from 500-4000Hz. Immittance testing is used to determine how the ear drum and middle part of the ear are functioning.
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VISUAL REINFORCEMENT AUDIOMETRY
Behavioural testing can be completed as soon as a child is able to sit unassisted and turn their head by themselves, this is usually between 6-12 months of age. This age group are tested using Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA). VRA is commonly tested in a soundfield, meaning it is testing both ears together, thus results are often referred to as being from at least the better hearing ear. VRA can also be conducted using a bone conductor. This allows the sound to stimulate the cochlear/nerve part of the hearing system directly.
Once a child is able to follow simple instructions and concentrate for longer testing periods, normally around 3 years of age, Play Audiometry is the preferred testing technique. Play Audiometry is usually tested using headphone so separate ear information can be obtained. Again, bone conduction is used to determine the underlying or cochlear/nerve based hearing. Children this age are often able to conduct simple Speech Recognition testing, commonly used is the Kendal Toy Test (KTT).
PURE TONE AUDIOMETRY
Older children and adults are tested using standard audiological assessments. This includes Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA) and standard Speech Recognition testing with CVC words.