A normal hearing level (HL) for children is 0-20 dB HL. Hearing loss range between 16-25 dB is treated as a minor affliction. Children 5yrs and above may be affected educationally if hearing loss is above 20 dB HL.
Children pick up most new words by overhearing them used in the conversations around them. To be able to hear properly, a child needs to have 0 -20 dB HL. A hearing loss of 15-25 dB will have consequences on the amount of speech overheard, particularly in situations where there is background noise. Having a range of 0 -20 dB HL allows us to distinguish the soft high frequency consonant sounds in conversational speech so we can perceive the difference in words like hat, tap, tarp, half.
Children 5yrs and above with hearing loss may have trouble learning if the classroom is noisy and may need to be seated close to the teacher. Your child may show signs of exhaustion after a day at school from the extra effort it takes to hear the teacher or miss part of the lesson delivered, impacting their ability to comprehend class room conversation and participate in activities.
If you suspect your child has hearing difficulties, The Hearing Club can conduct a hearing test to determine the hearing level present in each ear. A hearing screening will allow our audiologists to see if your child needs a more comprehensive test. Our hearing tests are reliable and painless.
The kind of test you can expect us to conduct are:
- Otoscopy – allows view of the ear canal and tympanic membrane or eardrum
- Tympanometry – gentle air pressure is applied to the middle ear to measure the flexibility the eardrum. This provides information on how well the eardrum and middle ear are functioning and whether there is a hole in the eardrum or if there is fluid in the middle ear
Behavioural tests are:
- Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) – 6m-18/24m developmental age
- Stimulus is presented, followed by a 90-degree head turn from midline by the child, resulting in the child being reinforced with an animation
- Obtain behavioural thresholds 250 Hz – 8000 Hz using speakers, headphones, inserts earphones or through a bone conduction transducer
- Above 18-24 months of age, children need more interesting tasks to hold their attention, which is when audiologists introduce Conditioned Play Audiometry
- Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA) – 18/24m-5yrs of developmental age. Uses toys to direct the child’s attention on the listening task and turns it into a game
- Requires active listening
- Obtain behavioural thresholds 250-8000 Hz using speakers, headphones, inserts earphones or through a bone conduction transducer
- Once a child reaches 5 years old, it is expected they can perform a more traditional audiologic evaluation
If not, enough information has been obtained, we can also test objectively:
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) – sound is played in the ears through earphones and your child’s responses are recorded, which are then analysed for an estimate of their hearing range
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) – sounds are produced in the inner ear with a small tip and a microphone records the capacity of the sensory hair cells inside the cochlea
After a diagnosis of hearing loss significant enough to warrant hearing aids, your audiologist will work with you to refer to services to arrange hearing aids that are appropriate.
For an indepth presentation on what we do for children with hearing issues you can refer to our Paediatric Assessment brochure.
If you are concerned about your child’s hearing, give us a call on 1800-627-728 to arrange an appointment as soon as possible.