Nearly four out of every 1,000 infants are born with hearing loss. Early detection is important since healthy hearing is vital to many areas of a child’s development. The sooner hearing disorders are detected and treated, the greater a child’s chances of overcoming and thriving in spite of them. Audiologists who specialize in pediatric care play a key role in your child’s early hearing health evaluation and treatment, and by extension, the most important years of their growth and development. Take a look at the following services an audiologist may have already provided and continues to offer to your child.

Early hearing loss detection

Recognizing the importance of hearing to early development, many states require a hearing test with a pediatric audiologist as part of a newborn infant’s first round of screenings. If the audiologist has concerns about an infant’s hearing, they will schedule follow-up testing. Even if a child clears an initial hearing screening, certain risk factors the audiologist watches for may prompt them to recommend routine hearing tests throughout childhood.

Customized hearing tests for children

With a pediatric audiologist, your child’s hearing will be screened both accurately and gently.

When testing infants and children, audiologists choose from among six standard test types that are non-invasive and can even be fun for children. The tests, which are chosen based on the age and risk concerns for your young child, include otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), auditory brainstem response (ABR), visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA), play audiometry and acoustic immittance testing.

Hearing treatments and counseling

Once a pediatric audiologist has diagnosed the type and extent of your child’s hearing loss, they will recommend treatment options based on the child’s current and future needs, especially as they relate to speech and language learning. This might involve referral to an otolaryngologist for surgery, fittings for hearing aids, recommendation of assistive devices, and various types of hearing rehabilitation and counseling. Whatever your child’s specific hearing condition, an audiologist will heavily involve your entire family in the process and continue to provide custom care that develops and grows right along with your child.

Even if your child passed hearing tests as an infant, it’s important to remember that hearing loss can occur at any stage. Continue to watch for signs of hearing loss as your child grows, and don’t hesitate to contact a pediatric audiologist with any concerns you may have. Their developmental years depend on it.