Screening for Hearing

Blog Badge

"Hearing loss in infants and toddlers can go undetected until delays in speech and language development become apparent," according to Jen Repovsch, Au.D., "Some children with mild impairments remain undiagnosed until they enter preschool or kindergarten, which is why early hearing screening is so important."

Many professional organizations recognize the value of early identification of hearing loss. Additionally, early childhood programs have recognized the key role that hearing health plays in the development of speech and language skills, socialization skills and educational achievement.

Dr. Jen Repovsch indicates there are several methods that can be used to test a child's hearing:

  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) testing, which objectively screens for hearing impairment in young children. OAEs test the function of outer hair cells in the cochlea. It is considered a reliable method for screening infants and toddlers.

  • Tympanometry, which measures middle ear function. Resting fluid behind a child's eardrum can cause hearing impairment, behavioral problems, and speech/language delays. This test is best used in combination with OAEs or audiometry.

  • Conditioned Play Audiometry, which is sometimes used with preschoolers, requires the child to put a peg in a pegboard or a block in a bucket when they hear the sound.

Using all of the above together makes for an effective screening program. However, the success of early childhood hearing screening programs depends on the program's capacity to track and follow up with children who fail the initial screening. 

For hearing screening products, shop our Hearing Screening category.

School Health would like to thank Jen Repovsch, Au. D. for her contribution to our blog.