Recovering from Neck Pain

Taking A Closer Look At The Different Types Of Hearing Tests Used For Children

by Janet Burns

If you have a child that you suspect is having problems with their hearing, it is likely that your pediatrician will recommend that you visit a hearing centre or audiologist for a hearing test. What many parents do not know is that there is not usually one definitive test used to determine the level of their child's hearing capabilities. In fact, there are a range of different types of tests used for little ones when they visit an audiologist. here are a few of the most common types of hearing tests and a few facts to help you better understand them.


This test can be used for people of all ages, even small children. It is designed to measure the movement and vibration of the eardrum when sounds are delivered. This test does not necessarily test whether or not your child can hear, but will help to determine issues with the inner ear, such as excessive fluid, that could affect how your child hears sound. Used in conjunction with other types of tests, a tympanogram is a very effective evaluation of the ear's function. During the test, a tympanometer is used to deliver a continuous tone at 226 Hz. As this tone is delivered, the measurement of movement and energy reflection from the inner ear is calculated.

Tone-Delivery Audiometry 

Perhaps the most familiar type of hearing test, the tone-delivery audiometry test is performed often in hearing centres. The test involves placing earphones over the ears and using an audiometer machine to deliver varying tones to to the right or left ear. As the tones are delivered, your child will be instructed to raise their right or left hand to coincide with what they hear. This test is only functional for children who are old enough to understand simple directions, but is an effective tool for understanding hearing perception.

Visually-Aided Reinforced Audiometry

When your child is too small to be able to understand directions or sit perfectly still for other hearing tests, the VRA test may be performed. This test requires a child to listen for tones delivered through tiny earphones in the ears. Lighted toys or instruments are used to encourage the child to look in the direction of the sounds. This test is a great measurement of hearing perception and can also be used to encourage children to follow sight to find sound.

If your little one must see an audiologist for a hearing exam, you should expect several different tests to be performed. The most accurate results will come from using more than one test to achieve proper diagnosis. If you are scheduled for a hearing test that you have not heard of, talk openly with your audiologist about what the test will involve.