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Detecting Hearing Loss in Children

Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Determining hearing loss in children facts

  • Children can be tested for hearing loss at any age.
  • There are several risk factors associated with hearing loss, including ear infections, prematurity, diseases, and syndromes.
  • Early identification of hearing loss will permit effective intervention, allowing for speech, language and cognitive development that are on target with a child's peers.
  • The ABR and the OAE evaluations are effective tests for infants and children who cannot cooperate for a traditional hearing evaluation.
  • Visual reinforcement audiometry and play audiometry are two behavioral methods used for testing cooperative children, which can obtain results similar to an adult evaluation.
  • A test of the middle-ear system should be included in a diagnostic hearing evaluation for all children.
  • When a hearing loss is detected, the child should be referred to an otolaryngologist or ENT to identify the cause of the loss. Further recommendations can be made by the ENT.


Accurate hearing testing cannot be done until a child reaches the age of 5 or 6.


Current technology now permits the accurate assessments of hearing in children starting within a few hours of birth. In fact, all states have mandates that testing of hearing be done in the newborn prior to discharge from the hospital.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/15/2016


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