If your child has hearing loss and a cochlear implant, you’ve probably been through a lot of hearing tests! These simple tests are the best way for your audiologist or doctor to find out how well your child can hear.
But if your child is becoming a little frustrated at doing the same test over and over again, do not despair. In this post, MED-EL audiologist Dr Annie Rodriguez shares her top 5 tips for making your child’s hearing test fun and engaging.
What Is A Hearing Test?
If your child was under the age of six months when you started this hearing journey, they most likely went through a variety of tests that did not require them to interact much. In fact, they probably had to be either sleeping or very still. You see, before a certain age a child’s response to sounds may be limited—they can’t show you if they have heard a sound. As they grow, their responses become clearer and more reliable. Once your child can show they’ve heard a sound, they move on to a different type of hearing test, known as a booth test.
Booth testing is very important and considered the gold standard in assessing hearing. The goal is to establish the softest sound your child can hear at different pitches. This is very important for our CI kiddos, as we want to make sure they have adequate access to all the sounds around them. They may be able to hear soft sounds that are low-pitched, but high-pitched sounds have to be very loud for the child to respond. This kind of information is very important for their audiologist to know so that they can make adjustments to their audio processor.
How Do Hearing Tests Work?
The way we do a booth test is simple: We present different tones at different loudness levels, and record a response. That response could be a child turning towards the sound, dropping a block in a bucket every time they hear the sound, or raising their hand. There are many ways we can record a response! Pediatric audiologists get VERY creative when trying to record a response from a child, whether that’s singing their favorite song to capture their attention or playing fun interactive games.
But our creativity is limited as we don’t know what toys or games your child loves the most. This is where you come in! Below are some tips that will help your audiologist get the best results from your child’s hearing test.
5 Tips For Your Child’s Hearing Test
1. Bring Your Child’s Favorite Songs
Provide the audiologist with a list of songs your child loves. This will help with maintaining their interest in the task. This is important because let’s be honest “raise your hand when you hear the beep” can get boring. We want to keep it interesting and interactive so that we can get the best results!
2. Bring Your Child’s Favorite Games
Bring your child’s favorite games to their appointment. Most pediatric audiologists have games in their office but I loved when parents brought some of their own! It helped with the variety of choices. If your child gets tested often they will likely cycle through the same toys we have in the office. Bringing new ones to the appointment keeps it interesting.
3. Bring Your Child’s Favorite Candy
Bring your child’s favorite food or candy. I couldn’t tell you how many times playing a game and making food as the reward worked! Food which can be broken into small parts or have pieces, like fruit snacks, gummy bears, cheerios or cheese-its, work great!
4. Don’t Bring A Sleepy Child
Have your child come at a time that they are awake and well rested. Try to avoid scheduling the appointment during their nap time. We all know our little ones get very cranky when they haven’t had their nap!
5. Bring Yourself!
Become a part of the testing. A lot of times audiologists are outside of the booth with the equipment while your child is in the actual booth. It really helps having someone in the booth to re-direct the child, keep their attention on the task, or switch games when needed.
Most importantly, have fun! A hearing test can be the best part of your day if we set it up for success.
Think you might have hearing loss? Check out our online hearing tests, and see if you should organize a booth test with a specialist.
Find out more about how cochlear implants work and how they could help you or your child.
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