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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)

First Audiology Appointment

An audiologist is a professional who diagnoses and treats hearing and balance problems in people of all ages. Audiologists can be found in a variety of ways in Ohio. You can receive a list from your doctor, school nurse, or hospital. You could also find a pediatric audiologist (one who specializes in young children) through this directory organized by Ohio counties. Or, you can access a statewide search here: The Ohio Academy of Audiology’s Audiologist Finder.

The audiologist will perform various evaluation and assessment procedures in order to determine the degree and nature of your child’s hearing loss and treatment options. Tests will vary depending on the age of your child. We provide some examples of tests here.

There are certain assessments that the audiologist will conduct with babies. Babies under three months of age can sleep through most of the audiology testing and that is why diagnostic testing soon after birth is important. One assessment, the Auditory Brainstem Response or ABR test, collects information from the brain about the hearing nerve through a few electrodes placed around the baby’s face, ears, and/or neck. This is done while the baby is asleep. Older babies and children may need some sedation; medication to assist with sleeping through the testing. None of the tests administered by an audiologist are painful for your baby.

As your baby grows and during the age of six months to three years, the audiologist will use a variety of testing procedures to find the hearing loss or deafness in each ear. One of the tests is called Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA). Babies and children need good head control status for VRA testing, so it is not done until an age where the child does have that head control. The VRA uses a machine called an audiometer to test a child's hearing threshold levels. The audiologist wants the child to look in the direction of the sound.

As the child grows, the audiologist will use play techniques and other ways to assist with the child as they respond to sounds at different frequencies. Between the ages of two and five, Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA) may be utilized to perform a hearing test with your child. For example, the child holds a block, waits and listens for a sound. When the child hears the sound, they drop the block in a bucket to indicate that they have heard a sound.

Results of the hearing evaluations and assessments are an important component toward determining supports to address your child’s needs for education and daily life.

For more detailed information about various hearing evaluations and assessments, please visit “Guidelines for the Assessment and Educational Evaluation of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

The results of the hearing assessments will be marked in an audiogram – a graph that shows the results of hearing tests. An audiogram is helpful when explaining what a child can and cannot hear. The audiologist can explain the audiogram and the type and degree of hearing loss or deafness for each ear.

Want to learn more about reading an audiogram?
Click here: What is an audiogram?

An audiogram example