Why It Is Done
Hearing tests may be done:
- To screen babies and young children for hearing problems that might interfere with their ability to learn, speak, or understand language. The Reference United States Preventive Services Task Force Opens New Window recommends that all newborns be screened for hearing loss.Reference 1 All 50 states require newborn hearing tests for all babies born in hospitals. Also, many health organizations and doctors' groups recommend routine screening. Talk to your doctor about whether your child has been or should be tested.
- To screen children and teens for hearing loss. Hearing should be checked by a doctor at each Reference well-child visit. In children, normal hearing is important for proper language development. Some speech, behavior, and learning problems in children can be related to problems with hearing. For this reason, many schools routinely provide hearing tests when children first begin school. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a formal hearing test at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 years.
- As part of a routine physical exam. In general, unless hearing loss is suspected, only a simple whispered speech test is done during a routine physical exam.
- To evaluate possible hearing loss in anyone who has noticed a persistent hearing problem in one or both ears or has had difficulty understanding words in conversation.
- To screen for hearing problems in older adults. Hearing loss in older adults is often mistaken for diminished mental capacity (for instance, if the person does not seem to listen or respond to conversation).
- To screen for hearing loss in people who are repeatedly exposed to loud noises or who are taking certain antibiotics, such as gentamicin.
- To find out the type and amount of hearing loss (conductive, sensorineural, or both). In conductive hearing loss, the movement of sound (conduction) is blocked or does not pass into the inner ear. In sensorineural hearing loss, sound reaches the inner ear, but a problem in the nerves of the ear or, in rare cases, the brain itself prevents proper hearing.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 25, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Steven T. Kmucha, MD - Otolaryngology