Newborn hearing screening is a screening test conducted for newborn babies. Most hearing screening is done before a newborn is discharged from the hospital. The test is painless and quick. It identifies babies with permanent hearing loss as early as possible to afford earliest possible intervention. Detecting and treating hearing loss early will help the baby’s language, learning and social development. By international measures, newborns should be screened by 1 month of age, complete audiology assessment by 3 months of age, and begin intervention by 6 months of age.
OAE tests the integrity of outer hair cells in the cochlea. During the test, a probe tip is placed in the ear canal. Signals are presented to the cochlea and an elicited low-level response is recorded. As the responses are very faint, it is important for the testee and the room to be very quiet. OAE tests can be used as a screening tool that delivers a PASS or REFER reading or a diagnostic tool for other purposes eg ototoxicity monitoring.
ABR is an objective test that does not require cooperation from the testee. It is normally used to estimate hearing levels of very young children and infants or those who are unable to participate in behavioural hearing testing. Sedation is required for ABR recording. In this test, sounds are presented through an earphone or bone conductor while three small surface electrodes (which are normally placed on the forehead and behind the ears) pick up the responses from the cochlea and auditory nerve. A computer averages the responses and audiologist interprets the
Play Audiometry or Conditioned Play Audiometry is a type of pure tone hearing test. It allows an audiologist to test the hearing of children who are aged around 3-7 years old developmentally. The child is conditioned to respond in play-oriented activities when a tone is heard. For example, the audiologist will condition a child to drop a toy into a bucket or drop a marble in marble track when the child hears a tone. This test will identify the degree, type, and configuration of hearing loss of a child.
Pure tone audiometry (PTA) is the key hearing test used to identify hearing threshold levels of an individual, enabling determination of the degree, type and configuration of a hearing loss. This thus provides the basis for diagnosis and management. PTA is a subjective, behavioral measurement of hearing threshold, as it relies on patient response to pure tone stimuli.
Tympanometry is an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and the conduction bones by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal. Tympanometry is an objective test of middle-ear function. It is not a hearing test, but rather a measure of energy transmission through the middle ear. The test should not be used to assess the sensitivity of hearing and the results of this test should always be viewed in conjunction with pure tone audiometry.