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Hearing test for kids

Posted On: September 20, 2022

At Helix Hearing and Helix Hearing, we have the equipment required to perform hearing tests for kids from 6 months of age at some clinic locations and from 4 years at all our clinics. Our friendly reception team will be able to direct you to your closest clinic offering hearing tests for your child.

You can expect the appointment to be approximately 30 minutes in length. If a sibling attends the appointment, it is a good idea if a second parent or guardian is able to look after the sibling in the waiting room as the testing environment needs to be very quiet and siblings may be a distraction to the child being tested.

At the appointment, one of our university trained, friendly audiologists will look in your child’s ears using a camera called an otoscope. They will also check for signs of fluid or pressure in the middle ear. The hearing test is carried out using one of the following techniques:

  • Visual-Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) typically for children aged 6 months-3 years:
    The child will sit on the lap of their parent and some sounds are played from a speaker in the corner of the room. When the child turns toward the sound, they are rewarded with a puppet that lights up and dances in the speaker box. This action is encouraged, and the child is conditioned to do this as a response to the sound.  The audiologist may attempt to do this testing with headphones or a headband on the child for further hearing information.
  • Play Audiometry typically for children over 3 years:
    Children are taught to play a “hearing” game with the audiologist. For example, listening to some animals and putting them in a bucket when they hear a noise or building a block tower with one block every time they hear the noise.

Every child is different, and our audiologists are very good at adapting the testing methods to suit the needs of each child to maximise the responses/results they can get from them. Sometimes information might be gathered over more than one appointment if the child is uncooperative or distressed on the first attempt at testing.

If my child has a hearing loss, either temporary or permanent, what can I do?

Whether your child has been diagnosed with a permanent sensorineural hearing loss or a temporary conductive hearing loss (such as that caused by an ear infection), there are some communication strategies we can use to help maximise communication efficiency with the child. These include:

  • Gaining the child’s attention before speaking.
  • Face-to-face interaction with the child.
  • Reducing distance between the speaker and the child.
  • Reducing background noise where possible (Eg. turning the TV off/down, moving away from distractions in the classroom).
  • Preferential seating in the classroom (seated away from distractions and up the front of the class).
  • One-on-one confirmation of instructions (teacher confirms instructions one-on-one with the child after addressing the whole class).

Further information can be obtained from an appointment with one of our audiologists as they are well trained to help you manage hearing loss in children including appropriate referral information when necessary.
Hearing loss can affect speech development, behaviour and learning. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s hearing, ear health or speech and language development, we welcome you to contact us and book a hearing test. We are stocked with plenty of awesome stickers in the clinic to put a smile on their dial at the end of their appointment!