You should always keep an eye out for the signs that your toddler is suffering from hearing loss. There are many causes of hearing loss in young children, including ear trauma, repeated ear infections, and too much exposure to loud noises early in life. When this hearing loss is detected and treated soon after it develops, treatment, such as hearing aids, can help your toddler learn and thrive just like other children their age who do not have hearing disorders.
Read on to learn more about toddlers and hearing loss, including signs you should take your toddler for a hearing aid test and common hearing tests for toddlers.
Signs Your Toddler Needs a Hearing Test
One common sign of hearing loss in a toddler is slow speech development. Additional signs that toddlers should have their hearing tested include not responding when called, providing out-of-context answers to questions, and wanting the volume turned up on the radio, television, and other electronic devices.
A toddler suffering from hearing loss is also less likely to be startled by loud noises that startle others in the household.
Hearing Aid Tests for Toddlers
Audiologists can test the hearing of toddlers in the following ways.
Visual Reinforcement Audiometry
One common method used to test the hearing in toddlers up to age two is visual reinforcement audiometry. To perform this test, an audiologist triggers a noise in a certain area where your toddler is and then watches to see if your toddler looks in the direction of the sound. When your child looks in the proper direction, they are rewarded with the sight of a fun toy or another exciting object.
Central Auditory Evoked Potential (CAEP) Test
A central auditory evoked potential test can be performed on children of any age and does not require their participation. Instead, small earphones are placed in their ears that are connected to tiny electrodes placed behind the ears and on the forehead. Then, the earphones are triggered to emit sounds while the electrodes help the audiologist determine if the sounds are following the proper path from the brain stem to the child's auditory cortex.
Older, more mature children are good candidates for pure-tone hearing tests. During this simple hearing test type, a child wears earphones as sounds with different pitches and volumes are sent through them. Your child provides a signal, such as raising the hand, to inform the audiologist that they heard the noise emitted.
Parents should watch for the signs of a hearing problem in their child and schedule an appointment with an audiologist any time they suspect their child may be suffering from hearing loss. There are many hearing aid tests for toddlers that help detect hearing problems that can be treated with a hearing aid before they interfere with a toddler's development.