Learning that your child has hearing loss can be overwhelming, and it’s natural to have a lot of questions. We’ve worked with many children with hearing loss over the years and have seen them grow to lead happy, active lives. We want you to feel comfortable asking questions and relying on us as your partners in your child’s hearing healthcare journey.
When we opened Hearing Professionals of Alabama, one of our goals was to enable families to have one single hearing professional who can help with every step of the process, from diagnosis to fitting devices to ongoing treatment.
Speech, learning or behavioral issues are often the first indicators of a possible hearing problem. These problems arise when a child has a hearing deficit. Pediatric audiologists can diagnose and treat speech and hearing disorders.
What is pediatric audiology?
Pediatric audiology is a type of healthcare offered to both infants and young children who are experiencing hearing problems or sound recognition issues. Audiologic intervention involves both diagnostic and rehabilitation services, which are used to determine the type and degree of the hearing loss and treat it accordingly. Identifying hearing problems early in a child’s life is essential for normal speech and language development, as well as social development.
What is a pediatric audiologist?
A pediatric audiologist is a specialist within the medical field who works with pediatric patients who have hearing, balance or speech deficits. They are skilled professionals who use different forms of testing in order to find the problem and then determine which method of treatment is best.
What services do pediatric audiologists offer?
The services offered by a pediatric audiologist vary according to the condition and symptoms as well as the age of the patient. The hearing specialist will perform hearing tests in order to determine the type and degree of the child’s deficit. These tests may include behavioral tone testing, speech testing, middle ear function testing as well as electrophysiological testing such as auditory brainstem response (ABR). After the examination and diagnosis, the pediatric audiologist will work to find the best method of treatment for your child. They may use certain devices, such as hearing aids, to treat problems with hearing. Also, therapy may be utilized in order to treat certain hearing problems, such as a sensory hearing condition.
Indicators of hearing loss in children:
- Speech and language delays
- Listens to TV or music at loud levels
- Speaks loudly
- Asks to have things repeated
- Attention problems
- Only responds when face-to-face
- Has a delayed reaction when spoken to
- Has no response when called upon
- Has trouble following directions
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Testing
ABR testing is most commonly used to diagnose, and determine degree of, hearing loss in newborns and infants. If your baby did not pass their newborn hearing screening, this test will determine if hearing loss is actually present and, if so, what the degree of hearing loss is. This test can also be completed on older children or adults who are unable to respond to, or participate in, traditional testing methods.
What can I expect at a pediatric audiology appointment?
When you bring your child in for a pediatric audiology appointment, you will be asked to describe what areas of concern you have regarding the child’s hearing, speech and language or balance. Be sure to ask questions in order to ensure you have the information you need. They will discuss the types of testing used to evaluate and diagnose the problem, which may be done that day or scheduled for a later appointment. At the time of the testing, the pediatric audiologist will tell you what problems were found, as well as what method of treatment is recommended. The pediatric audiologist will provide information regarding the hearing deficit and offers insight as to why this type of issue occurs along with the success rate of the treatment options.