Paediatric Hearing Assessment

Canberra Audiology offers paediatric hearing assessments for children and babies from 9 months to 15 years of age. If you need a child’s hearing assessment, or if you have a health professional or educator referral, we can help you out.

Hearing tests now attract a Medicare rebate with a written GP request!

Ask you GP, ENT, Paediatrician or Neurologist for an audiology request before your appointment so that you may claim your rebate.

Behavioural paediatric hearing assessment usually consists of either Visual Response Audiometry, Play audiometry or Pure Tone Audiometry.

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) is a style of hearing testing used for infants with a developmental age of approx. 9 months – 3 years (these are typical ages. Please note that a child’s developmental age may be different to their chronological age).

VRA involves small table and chair set-up in a large 3 x 3m sound booth with dimmed lighting. Your child is taught to expect a fun dancing puppet or computer image/video as a “reward” for turning their head around when they hear a sound. We give your child a number of training sessions with the sound and reward played at the same time. Once your child understands the task, sounds are presented at softer levels to determine the level of hearing.

Typically VRA is performed with speakers, not headphones, because most young children do not tolerate wearing headphones on, or earphones in, their ears. Testing with speakers is called “free-field” testing. With this type of hearing test, both ears are tested together. If individual ear hearing test results are required, this may require an additional appointment. While we try our best to make the experience fun and calm, will be subject to your child’s ability to tolerate headphones/earphones.

Please note: Children with blindness or significant vision loss are not suitable candidates for VRA due to the visual nature of the “reward”.

Play Audiometry is a style of hearing testing that involves playing a game with the your child with instructions such as “When you hear the sound, do ……”. This method of paediatric hearing testing is generally suitable for ages 3-6 years.  However, as with all behavioural hearing testing methods, this requires the engagement and participation of your child.

Our audiologists have a ranges of games to play with your child, depending on what interests them. Games include: peg boards, car runs, Pop-Up Pirate/T-Rex, Pop the Pig and stickers. If you believe that your child may have difficulty or no interest in playing a listening game and following simple instructions, please call ahead. This way our audiologists can come up with a plan for your child.

Pure Tone Audiometry is the same hearing test as is done for adults. It usually involves wearing headphones and pushing a hand-held button when a beep or tone is heard. This test is very quick and has the potential to give us the most information about your child’s hearing. Most children from the age of 5 or 6 years are able to perform this test.  However, if you believe that your child would require Play Audiometry or Visual Response Audiometry, please call ahead and let us know because this may require a different test room to be booked.

Your audiologist will assess your child at the beginning of your appointment to decide what type of hearing assessment method would suit them best. If you believe that your child requires any special consideration, please call ahead and let us know.

  • Please be aware that hearing testing requires as much quiet as possible. We strongly suggest having only one parent, without other children, in the test room at the time of the appointment.