Personalized Hearing Care

Taking Your Child to the Audiologist

grinning child seeing his hearing specialist

There is no doubt that hearing is important in children, and diagnosing issues early is beneficial. Hearing is an integral part of forming speech and communication. Hearing issues in children aren’t always easy to spot, but the earlier they are seen, diagnosed and treated, the better. 

Children, when newborn, go through several health screenings and one of those is hearing. At that time, small devices will be used to check for early signs of hearing loss so that they can be treated while they are still infants. Older children are often diagnosed with hearing issues that are to a lesser degree.

How Do I Know If I Need to Take My Child to An Audiologist?

If hearing issues are detected in infancy, you will likely be referred to an audiologist quickly and will follow that care plan. However, if there is suspicion of hearing issues in older children, it can often be more difficult to spot. Interestingly hearing loss can present in several ways before it is diagnosed, including learning disabilities and developmental delays. 

Once your child is seen by a trained audiologist, any hearing issues can be discovered. 

What Hearing Loss Signs Should I Look for In My Child?

There are some common markers that can help parents and guardians spot the signs of hearing loss within specific age groups:

  • Between seven and 12 months, if you notice that your child doesn’t respond to loud noises or that they do not respond to their name being called.
  • Between 16-18 months if there are no simple words like mama or dada being expressed. 
  • Between 37-48 months if the child's speech is difficult to understand, or that they are still not communicating effectively with some words.

When Should I Take My Child to An Audiologist?

When it comes to your child’s hearing, you want the best available specialist and that is an audiologist. Audiologists are trained to investigate hearing issues to detect, evaluate and provide a treatment plan for people of all ages. You can take your child to see a regular audiologist or opt for an audiologist that has a specialty in pediatric audiology. 

The most crucial factor is that the child is comfortable in the office of the audiologist and is able to relax. 

What are Some Common Reasons to See an Audiologist for Children?

You may need to take your child to an audiologist if they have deafness, speech disorders, communication problems, learning disabilities or hearing impairment. A common hearing problem in children is auditory process disorder. Auditory processing disorder is where a person’s ability to process auditory sounds isn’t functioning correctly. 

This disorder becomes more noticeable as the child grows up and cannot concentrate in the classroom due to the noise. The evaluation for auditory processing disorder cannot typically be completed until the child is at a stage where they can repeat back numbers and phrases.

What Type of Tests Can an Audiologist Do for My Child?

The type of tests that an audiologist will do will vary based on the age of the child. They are called diagnostic tests and will be able to work out how well your child can hear. When taking a baby to the audiologist, most tests can be completed even while the baby is sleeping. This makes it comfortable and easy for both the parents or guardians and the child. 

Toddlers can often have an enjoyable time at the audiologist's office. To interpret how much a toddler can hear, they might be playing with puppets, bells and other toys. While it seems like playtime to the child, the audiologist can see how much of the sounds their child can hear. 

Preschoolers often also have an enjoyable experience; pressing buttons, dropping blocks and other fun stuff can happen during the assessment. School-aged children can have an auditory processing assessment to check for auditory processing disorder. 

During the tests, there will be plenty of discussion between the audiologist and the parents or guardians of the child and the parents or guardians may be asked to help – things like keeping the child still or encouraging them to interact and do the test. 

Once all of the tests and observations have been made, the audiologist will offer clarity on the child's hearing and discuss a range of valuable ways that improve their hearing, language and speech development.

Give Lowe Audiology a call today to discuss your child's hearing at 260-222-7925.