Hearing Tests In-Depth

Hearing tests for newborns

There are two primary types of hearing screening methods for newborns. These may be used alone or together. The ABR test is preferred because the EOAE test may miss a type of hearing loss called auditory dys-synchrony.

  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR). A test that uses electrodes (wires) attached with adhesive to the baby's scalp. The test measures the brain's activity in response to the sounds. Like EOAE, this test is painless and quick.

  • Evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAE). This test uses a tiny, flexible plug that is inserted into the baby's ear. This test is painless and is usually completed within a few minutes, while the baby sleeps.

Hearing tests for infants

Evaluation of hearing in your infant may include the use of EOAE and ABR tests (see above). Children's also uses:

  • Behavioral audiometry. This screening test observes an infant's behavior in response to certain sounds.

Hearing tests for toddlers

  • Play audiometry. This test uses an electrical machine to transmit sounds at different volumes and pitches into your child's ears.

Hearing tests for older children

  • Pure tone audiometry. This test that uses an electrical machine that produces sounds at different volumes and pitches in your child's ears.
  • Tympanometry (also called impedance audiometry). This test can be performed in most doctors' offices to help determine how the middle ear is functioning.