The assessment of the child’s hearing level is done through hearing tests.
In behavioral hearing tests, the hearing threshold for sounds and speech is tested, that is, the weakest intensity that the subject hears.
Hearing tests can also be performed for newborns. There are a variety of objective and subjective hearing tests and the method of hearing tests can be adapted to the child’s age and maturity level. The hearing tests do not make the child uncomfortable.
Objective hearing tests:
These do not require cooperation on the part of the tested child. These hearing tests take place mainly in the audiological institutes of the hospitals.
Cochlear echo test Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE):
The test measures the echo emitted from the outer hair cells in the inner ear following sound stimulation. The test is performed when the baby is asleep or calm. The test can indicate a suspected hearing impairment. The test is currently performed in all maternity hospitals routinely within the framework of the law.
ABR Auditory Brainstem Response test – (also called BERA):
A test to evaluate the nerve conduction function of the auditory nerve at the level of the brainstem and can provide information regarding the sound intensity required to stimulate the nerve. The test is performed during natural sleep or after administration of a sedative. The test can be performed for click type stimulation or for stimulation according to different frequencies.
Auditory Steady State Response – ASSR test:
An objective test similar to ABR – in which, with the help of stimulation of pure sound (at different frequencies), activity of the inner ear and the central auditory pathway is evoked. This response is picked up by electrodes glued to the head (similar to an EEG test). This test enables an objective evaluation of the hearing threshold at the different frequencies.
Testing the mobility of the eardrum and its response to pressure, and reflects the function of the eardrum and middle ear (this test can indicate the presence or absence of fluid in the middle ear).
Acoustic reflex test:
A test that reflects the sound intensity required to cause a muscle contraction in the middle ear that contracts in response to a loud sound. It is done with the help of the tympanometer.
Subjective, behavioral hearing tests:
These hearing tests require active cooperation from the subject. The tests include threshold tests for speech and threshold tests for sounds. In the sound threshold test, we look for the weakest intensity at which the subject hears sounds of different frequencies. This test forms the basis for the process of adjusting the hearing aids. We adapt the test method to the child’s age, starting with observing reflexive reactions in infancy, and then conditioning to lights or play every time the child hears.