Here are some explanations for some of the technical phrases that are used to describe the way we test your child's hearing:
Otoscopy: where we look in your child's ears
Tympanometry: where we check to see how well your child's eardrums are moving and whether there is fluid behind the eardrum.
Hearing Assessment for babies and young infants
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
In this test we use sensors placed on your child's head and behind the ears to measure the response on the hearing nerve to sounds which we play to your child. Your child must be asleep for this test. It is usually done on babies.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
In this test we place a soft earpiece in your child's ear and play them a clicking sound, we measure a kind of echo back from your child's inner ear which indicates that this part of the ear is working. All babies have a version of this test for the newborn screen.
Hearing Assessment for toddlers and older children
Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)
In this test we find the quietest sounds that your child responds to by rewarding them with a dancing toy or flashing light when they turn to a sound.
In this test we find the quietest sounds that your child responds to by asking them to perform a play activity such as putting a man in a boat when they hear a sound.
Puretone Audiometry (PTA)
In this test we find the quietest sounds that your child responds to by asking them to press a button when they hear a sound.
The sounds are delivered using either:
Speakers: which test both ears working together.
Insert earphones or headphones: which test each ear individually.
Bone conductor: which tests the better inner ear or cochlea using a headband.
We test a range of frequencies (pitches or notes, like on a piano keyboard) that are important for hearing speech. The banana-shape in this diagram shows how different speech sounds have different pitches and loudness. Some other common sounds are also shown.