Hearing loss in children can be detected through several techniques. When children are very young (less than 6 months old), hearing loss detection needs to be done without a child’s cooperation. When the child is 30 months to three years old, the test is accompanied using child cooperation. This activity is known as Play Audiometry (also known as Conditioned Play Audiometry).
What is Play Audiometry?
Play audiometry test measures the child’s level of hearing through a fun and interactive method, using toys and games. The test is ideal for children between 2 to 5 years old (preschoolers) as this non-invasive diagnosis requires a child full attention and cooperation to complete successfully. We would be able to measure the condition of your child by evaluating their response to sounds presented through a different level of loudness and pitches.
Some of the popular games we use at the SpHear clinic are throwing a ball in the bucket, putting pieces into puzzles, or any other playful activity. Once we are satisfied that the results of the test are accurate, the results are entered into the notes and prepared for the appointment with the SpHear pathologist.
What to expect during the test?
During the process, your child is asked to perform a number of the small task each time they hear a sound in a form of a series of varied tones and noises played via earphones. Every right action is reinforced with praise to encourage the child from the Sphear audiologist throughout the hearing journey. The result obtained from the test can be used for configuring the setting of cochlear implants, hearing aids, and Bone conduction devices.
There are two parts of the test:
- Conditioning: During this phase of the test, the audiologist will ask your child to play a game. She will push a button to generate a tone and then get the child excited by asking them to perform the task every time they hear a tone. Once the child understands the flow of the game, the screening will begin.
- Screening: In the screening phase, an audiologist will place an earphone on your child’s ears. While the child performs the task, the audiologist will reduce the tone intensity of the child’s minimum hearing threshold. The test continues until the set of data is collected.
How to prepare your child?
Your audiologist will guide you to practice the “listening game” beforehand if your child will be having their hearing evaluated. This is a most natural method as the child is most likely to understand the task and the results can be obtained by an audiologist from the child hearing level.
He results from the play audiometry is considered as very accurate. However, the result depends of the reliability, fluctuation, and child’s level of engagement & focus.
This test may take couple of days or even week to complete if the child is not very cooperating or cognitively low.