Listening through play
Testing for toddlers needs to be fun and based in play. We do our best to put your child at ease and help them to enjoy the appointment.
The two most common ways of assessing hearing in this age group are Visual Reinforcement Audiometry, in which the child turns towards a toy that lights up when he or she hears a sound, or play audiometry, in which the child makes a response such as putting a toy man in a boat when he or she hears a sound. Additional tests assess speech understanding as well as listening and talking behaviours.
At Chear, we can find out if there is a hearing impairment and, if so, how severe it is. We can also provide information about whether the hearing difficulties are temporary or permanent.
Hearing assessments need to give reliable results. By using different techniques and matching these to observed behaviours reliability is confirmed.
We test with and without hearing aids, using speech sounds and environmental noises as well as pure tones. The additional information equips families with the knowledge they need to make the best choices about their child’s hearing.
For toddlers who have already been fitted with hearing aids, we measure whether the output of the hearing aid is appropriate. We review the technology available to improve the child’s access to sound, including in some cases cochlear implants.
Poorly fitting earmoulds are the most commonly reported problem with infant hearing aids. We make sure they are secure and comfortable and fit snugly in the baby’s ear, to prevent whistling and to ensure that speech is as clear as possible.
We provide a full report of our results, which can be shared with NHS audiology services, doctors and other members of your hearing support team. An independent appointment at Chear should not replace an NHS appointment. It is designed to give you supplementary information about your baby’s hearing and vocalisations.
Many families find it helpful to chart their child’s progress. Here is a checklist of hearing responses in the second year of life, from Texas Early Detection Hearing and Intervention. You may also want to take a look at our leaflet Your Child and Hearing Aids, by Karen L Anderson and Jane Madell.