Children and Hearing Loss

The State of Wisconsin requires all newborn babies to have their hearing tested prior to being discharged from the hospital. If your child does not pass their newborn hearing screening, a referral will be made to see a pediatric audiologist for a diagnostic hearing test. Untreated hearing loss in babies can result in speech and language delays, difficulty with reading when the child is older, as well as difficulty in school. Hearing testing on babies does not require any participation from the child. Tiny earphones are placed in their ears and electrodes are placed on their forehead and ears. A sound is presented through the earphones and measurements are obtained through the electrodes based on how the child's hearing nerve responds to the sound.

If your child is school-age and did not pass their screening at school, it will be recommended that the follow-up with an audiologist for a diagnostic hearing test. The audiologist will ask questions, look in your child's ear, perform a test to ensure the eardrums are moving well (to rule out middle ear fluid) as well as perform a hearing test. The hearing test will require your child to raise his/her hand whenever he/she hears a beep. Low frequency, mid-frequency and high frequency tones are presented to test across the important frequencies for understanding speech. The audiologist will then let you know the results at the time of the appointment and appropriate recommendations can be made based on the test results.