Since 2002 most newborns will have had their hearing screened while still in the hospital as part of The Ontario Infant Hearing Program (IHP). To learn more about this program please refer to the following link – http://infanthearingprogram.com/.
In this office there are a variety of techniques that the audiologist utilizes to test a child’s hearing and middle ear function. The tests conducted depend on a child’s age, development, behavior and underlying medical conditions. Behavioral tests, such as Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) involve careful observation of a child’s behavioral response to sounds, either using insert earphones or sounds generated in the soundfield (speakers placed in different areas inside the sound booth). Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA) is used to test children, with insert earphones, who are too young to reliably press a button in response to a sound.
Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) tests are used to assess the function of the outer hair cells in the inner ear and are usually used in conjunction with VRA or CPA. Tympanometry is used to assess how the eardrum moves and helps to identify middle ear problems, such as fluid behind the eardrum, a hole or perforation in the eardrum and the stiffness of the eardrum or ossiciles (middle ear bones).
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test and Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR) tests are not conducted at this clinic but are used to predict hearing levels without relying on behavioral responses from the child and as such can provide details that the regular battery of testing cannot.