Hearing

What to expect when bringing your baby for an initial new-born hearing screening (if they were not tested in hospital):

  • There are two tests which are used for new-born hearing screening, namely an OAE (Oto-acoustic emission) test or an AABR (Automated auditory brainstem response) test. The audiologist will discuss which test will be necessary for your baby’s hearing screening.
  • During the OAE test, a small soft-tipped earpiece is placed in your baby’s ear and soft clicking sounds are played. The equipment measures cochlear echoes generated by the hair cells inside the cochlea.
  • During the AABR test, the audiologist will clean behind your baby’s ears and on the forehead with a special wipe, and then place sticker-like electrodes onto these areas. Wires will then be attached to these electrode stickers. A small soft-tipped earpiece will be placed in your baby’s ear, and soft clicking sounds are played. Electrical activity generated by the hearing nerve as the sound travels up the brain is recorded by the electrodes and represented as waveforms on the equipment screen.
  • Your baby does not have to react or respond during the testing and the procedures do not hurt your baby.
  • The newborn hearing screening tests can only be conducted while your baby is sleeping or very calm. The duration of the appointment depends on which tests need to be performed, and whether or not your baby is sleeping.

What to expect when bringing your baby for follow-up hearing screening if he/she did not pass the first new-born hearing screening:

  • The new-born hearing screening is repeated (either the OAE or AABR test or both). If a ‘pass’ result is measured, a follow-up hearing test will be recommended for when your baby is 1 year old. Please arrange this appointment yourself.
  • If a ‘refer’ result is measured again, a high-frequency tympanometry test will be performed. This test measures the middle-ear status (checking for fluid build-up behind the eardrum which can influence the hearing screening). A small soft plastic earpiece is placed in your baby’s ear and small amounts of air are puffed into the ear. If this result is abnormal, these results will be discussed with your paediatrician. A follow-up hearing screening appointment in a few weeks’ will be necessary. Please arrange this appointment yourself.
  • If the middle ear status is normal, further hearing testing will be required. This may involve an AABR screening test (please see above) or diagnostic Auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing. This appointment will take 1 to 2 hours. Please see here (ABR) for more information
  • Your baby does not have to respond during the testing and the procedures do not hurt your baby.
  • It is important to note that in some instances multiple appointments may be needed before all the necessary information is obtained.
  • The newborn hearing screening tests can only be conducted while your baby is sleeping or very calm. The duration of the appointment depends on which tests need to be performed, and whether or not your baby is sleeping.

What to expect when bringing your toddler or child for a hearing test:

  • Your child’s co-operation is critical to the success of testing. For young children, a morning appointment is preferable.
  • Please do not schedule this appointment around your toddler’s nap time. If your child is unwell, please reschedule the appointment.
  • Please ensure your child has had something to eat and drink before the appointment and that they have used the toilet/have a clean nappy.
  • Please note that if your child is uncooperative and reliable results cannot be obtained, a follow-up appointment will need to be scheduled.
  • If possible, prepare your child beforehand by informing him/her that we will be touching and looking into their ears.
  • You will be asked for a brief medical and developmental history concerning your child.
  • We will look inside your child’s ears with an otoscope.
  • We will perform a test which measures the middle ear status during which a small soft-tipped ear piece is placed in your child’s ear. Small amounts of air will be puffed into the ear. Your child will have to sit still for a few seconds while this test is administered.
  • We will then proceed with a behavioural hearing test in a sound proof booth. Soft sponge-like earphones, speakers or a band which fits behind the ear will be used. Depending on the age and development of your child, different methods will be used to measure their responses to sounds at different frequencies.
  • Children aged 6 to 30 months, will sit on a parent’s lap while sounds of different frequencies and volumes are presented through sponge-like earphones or speakers. A toy in a light box or a cartoon on a screen will be used to reward them when they respond appropriately to the sounds presented.
  • Older children will be taught to stack a toy block or place a toy peg in a hole every time they hear the sounds presented through earphones. If your child is old enough, he/she will be asked to press a response button every time they hear a presented sound.
  • Depending on the age of the child, we will also ask them to listen to words and point to the matching pictures or repeat the words they have heard.
  • The results of the hearing test will be discussed with you and recommendations and referrals made where necessary.
  • The appointment duration is between 20 to 60 minutes.
  • The tests which are used are age appropriate and based on nationally and internationally accepted protocols. If behavioural testing is not successful, the audiologist may recommend an objective hearing assessment for your child. Please see here (ABR) for more information.
  • It is important to note that in some instances multiple appointments may be needed before all the necessary information is obtained.

What to expect when bringing your child for an Auditory Processing Assessment :

  • This assessment can be performed with children aged of 5 and older.
  • A morning appointment is preferable ao that we may assess your child when he/she is alert and not tired.
  • Please ensure your child has had something to eat and drink before the appointment and that they have used the toilet.
  • When making the appointment you will be asked for an email address. You will receive questionnaires which should please be given to your child’s class teacher to complete. Please bring these completed forms with you to the appointment.
  • If your child uses medication (e.g. Ritalin or Concerta) please give them their medication as normal before the appointment.
  • You will be asked to provide background information concerning your child’s development and areas of concern. If your child has been seen by other professionals (e.g. educational psychologist, occupational therapist, speech- therapist, paediatric neurologist etc.) it will be helpful if you could please bring these reports with you to the appointment.
  • If your child’s hearing has not been tested previously, a hearing test will be performed (please see above).
  • An auditory processing assessment consists of different listening tasks that your child will have to perform through headphones or speakers in the sound proof booth. The tests performed will vary slightly depending on your child’s age.
  • You will receive a written report following the assessment. You will also be provided with the opportunity to arrange a verbal feedback session (either in person or telephonically) to discuss the findings and recommendations which will be made.The duration of the test is 1.5 hours. If your child has difficulty paying attention for the duration of the appointment, a follow-up appointment may need to be arranged.

What to expect when coming for a hearing test as an adult:

  • A brief medical case history interview will be conducted.
  • We will look into your ears with an otoscope.
  • We will perform an objective assessment of middle ear status. For this test a small soft-tipped earpiece will be placed in the ear, and small amounts of air will be puffed into the ear. Beeping sounds will also be presented. You will be asked to remain quiet and still for a few seconds while the test is administered.
  • Your hearing will be tested in a sound proof both. Over-the- ear headphones or small sponge-like earphones which fit into the ear will be used. If needed, a headband with a device which fits behind your ear will also be used. Your hearing will be tested at different frequencies in each ear individually.
  • You will be asked to listen to a series of words, and repeat the words which you have heard. This will be performed at different loudness levels.
  • The results will be discussed with you and recommendations and referrals will be
    made where necessary.
  • The duration of the test can vary between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

What to expect when coming for a VNG (video nystagmography) assessment:

When making the appointment you will be asked for an email address. You will
receive questionnaires which should please be completed and returned on the day of
your appointment.

  • A medical case history will be performed.
  • If your hearing has not been tested previously, a hearing test will be performed.
    Please see above.
  • A bedside evaluation will be conducted where you will be asked to perform simple
    balance tasks.
  • You will wear a set of goggles which have a camera attached over one eye. You will be asked to perform various tasks by looking at a light on a light-bar. Recordings of your eye-movements will be made.
  • You will be asked to move into various positions while recordings of your eye-movements are made.
  • Irrigations of the ear will be performed, twice on each ear (with warm and cool water) while recordings of your eye-movements are made.
  • The results of the assessment will be sent to the referring specialist for further interpretation. Additional referrals may also be recommended.
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