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Types of hearing tests for children - behavioural testing

The type of test used by a clinician to assess a child's hearing is much dependent on their development age. Behavioural tests require the child to be awake and are carried out as the child gets older, using toys and listening games.

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)

This assessment technique is used for babies / children who are developmentally aged between 6-30 months. The test technique takes advantage of children’s early development of sound localisation. A sound is played via a sound source, such as a loudspeaker or headphones and the child localises the sound. Once they have localised the sound, the child is rewarded with a flashing toy. The Audiologist will initially condition the child to the game to ensure they can complete the task. The intensity of the sound is then varied to determine the quietest levels your child can detect, at varying pitches which are important for speech understanding.

Performance/Play Audiometry

This assessment technique is used for children who are developmentally aged 24+ months. The test technique allows your child to interact with the Audiologist and makes the assessment into a game. The child will be presented with a sound and asked to complete a task in response to that sound, such as placing a man in a boat or a ring on a stick. The Audiologist will initially condition the child to the game to ensure they are able to wait for the sound. The intensity of the sound is then varied to determine the quietest levels your child can detect, at varying pitches which are important for speech understanding.

Your Audiologist may have suggested preparing your child for this test by introducing “Ready, Steady, Go” games at home prior to their appointment. Using the same principle, as a parent you can say “Ready, Steady, Go!” and on ‘Go!’ encourage the child to complete a task, such as throwing a block into a box. This introduces the child to the concept of waiting for a stimulus before completing a task. Praising the child for getting it right reinforces and encourages the response and makes it fun.                           

Speech testing

The department uses a number of different speech tests which look at your child’s ability to detect and discriminate speech. The type of test will depend on the child’s age.

 

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