Diagnostic Audiology Program Frequently asked Questions (FAQ)

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Why should my child have a hearing test?

An infant should have a hearing test if he or she did not pass the newborn hearing screening test in one or both ears. Even if your child's passed the newborn hearing screening test, your baby's hearing should be tested again if there is a reason why your child might develop a hearing loss.

Reasons your child might develop a hearing loss:

  • Have a close relative who had hearing loss in childhood
  • Have a syndrome in which hearing loss often occurs
  • Infections at birth such as cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Being on a ventilator for a long time
  • Have a congenital diaphragmatic hernia or needing ECMO therapy
  • Having repeated courses of IV antibiotics and diuretics

Your child's hearing also should be checked if:

  • You think your child is not responding normally to sounds
  • Your child is not starting to understand words and talk at the usual age
  • Your child has frequent ear infections or persistent middle ear fluid

How is my child's hearing tested?

There are many ways to test a child's hearing, depending on the age and health of the child. The Audiology program performs the following tests:

  • Auditory Brain Stem Response (ABR) test
  • Regular (Behavioral) Audiological Evaluation
  • Auditory Processing
  • Tympanometry
  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)
  • Hearing Aid verification    

What happens if my child has a hearing loss?

Some hearing problems are medically or surgically correctable if they are caused by middle ear health issues. Other hearing problems may be treated with the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and speech and language therapy.

If a hearing problem is found, your audiologist and pediatrician will arrange for your child to be seen by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) to explore any medical aspects of the hearing loss and will guide you to other services to help your child to communicate.

What should I bring to the appointment?

Please bring your insurance card and referral number if your insurance requires it. You may wish to bring a snack and/or a drink for your child. 


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Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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