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Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations for Infants, Toddlers, and Older Children


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If an audiologist suspects there’s a problem with your child’s hearing, your child will have a diagnostic hearing evaluation. Pediatric audiology specialists at University of Miami Health System offer a variety of age-appropriate diagnostic hearing evaluations for infants, toddlers, and older children.

Who is a Candidate?

If the pediatrician or audiologist thinks your child or teenager may have a hearing problem, a diagnostic hearing evaluation helps pinpoint the problem and allows your child’s care team to develop a treatment plan.

What to Expect

Auditory brainstem response (ABR)
This test measures how well your child’s inner ear (cochlea) and brain pathways for hearing are functioning. Your child wears earphones that emit clicks or tones. Three electrodes placed on your child’s head measure the hearing nerve’s response to the sounds. An ABR is used for children who can’t complete other types of hearing screenings because they can’t communicate or can’t voluntarily respond when they hear a tone — usually because they’re too young, or they have a disability.

Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)
This test measures how well your child’s inner ear is functioning. A tiny probe, placed inside your child’s ear canal, measures the movement of sensory cells in the inner ear when clicks or tones are played into their ears. An OAE is often part of a newborn hearing screening , but it can be done at any age.

Pure-tone testing
This test measures the quietest sound your child can hear at different pitches. Your child wears headphones through which they hear a series of beeps. When they hear a beep, they raise the hand (or hands) that corresponds with the side where they hear the beep. Younger children learn to drop a block in a bucket when they hear the sound. And infants and toddlers learn to look at a small TV screen for a few seconds of a cartoon when they hear the sound.

Speech testing
This test evaluates how well your child listens to and repeats a word. Speech testing is appropriate for older children and teenagers who speak well.

Tests of the middle ear
If your child has a middle-ear problem, it makes it hard for sounds to reach the inner ear and brain. Your child’s audiologist may recommend a middle-ear test. These tests are particularly common in children between the ages of 3 and 5, although they are performed on all ages, when ear infections are common or there is suspicion of another kind of middle ear problem.

Why Choose UHealth?

Excellence in treating children’s hearing conditions. We’ve been recognized by Children’s Medical Services (CMS), a division within the Florida Department of Health, for excellence in newborn hearing screening and early identification of hearing loss in infants. We’ve also been recognized by the Federal Government as a part of a University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. This means that we maintain high standards of care in the diagnosis and intervention for the most complex hearing issues.

World-class health care for children. Children and their families come from all over the world to receive top-quality care from our compassionate team of pediatric specialists. Your child will receive personalized attention from doctors who are sought out for their expertise.

HealthySteps program helps children meet milestones. All our general pediatrics offices use the HealthySteps program to ensure that children are developing appropriately for their age — physically, emotionally, and psychologically. When there are issues or concerns, we work closely with patients and their families to connect them with support resources. We’re the only academic health center in South Florida with developmental and behavioral pediatric specialists on staff.

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