Behavioural tests are performed on infants too young to sit with head control using a puppet theatre methodology when there is a suspicion of hearing loss. This may arise due to a child being on an “at risk” register from birth meeting particular criteria. Newborn hearing screening programs in the maternity ward are performed routinely and significant hearing losses are usually detected at just a few days of age. These require further follow up.
As technology with more reliable objective measures of hearing the need for behavioural hearing assessment has declined. It does remain important in more complex and challenging situations in order to determine if a suspicion of hearing loss exists and to validate objective measures.
The methodology requires the use of noisemakers of known frequency composition, that when producing sound, causes a behavioural change in the infant. This can be very subtle, such as stilling or cessation of sucking. Loud and sudden sounds may also evoke an auropalpebral reflex in an infant.
Objective measures use Tympanometry, Otoacoustic Emissions and Auditory Brainstem Response Audiometry.
As hearing is critical for speech and language development as well as learning we recommend you do not delay organizing a hearing evaluation. Please feel free to use the links on this web page to “Contact us” for further information or “Book Appointment” to request a preferred time.