Monday, March 20, 2017
Mommy Mondays: Infant Hearing Tests
I was chatting with a friend the other week and she mentioned she was about to have her son's hearing tested. She asked about the process, knowing we had done that with Thatbaby. And it made me realize that this is a topic that might be good to share information about, since it's not that common a process. I know before Thatbaby got tested, I turned to L&O for as much information as she could provide.
At 12 months, the only recognizable word Thatbaby had was "uh oh." But he did have a couple other words, that were...off. Like zuzzz for shoes and appajay for pumpkin. It made me question where there was something wrong with his hearing that was causing him to mishear and mispronounce words, and making it more difficult for him to acquire language.
I brought it up at his 15 month appointment, and his pediatrician wasn't terribly concerned since he had passed his newborn hearing test, but knows that I'm not usually the parent who worries unnecessarily, so he referred me to a pediatric audiologist for a hearing test. While we were in the office, he did a visual inspection of Thatbaby's ear with the otoscope, to make sure there was nothing obviously wrong with his ear structure. There wasn't.
Now, here arises the real question. The hearing test itself. How do you test the hearing of a nonverbal child? Well in our cases, this is what happened, which is also similar to L&O's experience and the experience of a friend whose son had a hearing test the same day at Thatbaby. So I'm hoping this is universal enough to help anyone else about to experience the test.
The first part of the test was objective. While Thatbaby sat on my lap, the audiologist placed an instrument in each ear and measured the waves that bounced back from the cochlea/cillia in front of the cochlea.
The doctor then repeated this form of testing, this time measuring the waves bouncing back from the ear drum.
These tests all came back with normal results. According to the tests, all his ear functions were working normally. So then came the subjective part of the test. He should be able to hear, but could he?
Thatbaby and I sat in a box of a room with me sitting between two speakers and him on my lap. Beneath each speaker was a stuffed animal. In front of us was a stuffed animal (one of those yappy electronic dogs).
The audiologist would randomly alternate between speakers above each side animal and see if Thatbaby turned toward the noise/animal. Between each side he would set off the yappy dog in front of us. (Thatbaby caught on to this pretty quickly. He would turn toward the appropriate animal, then immediately look at the dog to wait for it to turn on. As soon as the test was over he went running up to the dog)
Which answered my question about his hearing. Everything was functioning normally, and he was hearing fine. Which meant he was just quirky with his pronunciations (still is) and just on the slower side when it came to speech. The entire experience was fairly quick, and very painless. Thatbaby even danced down the hallway after it was over.