Pediatric Hearing Evaluations

In the first few years of life, hearing is a critical part of
social, emotional, and cognitive development.

We evaluate the hearing of newborns and adolescents at our office through a variety of tests depending on age and communication abilities. Hearing loss is one of the most common life-long medical conditions seen at birth. 

Newborn hearing screening identifies most children born with a hearing loss. But in some cases, the hearing loss is caused by things like infections, trauma, and damaging noise levels, and the problem doesn't emerge until later in childhood. Researchers believe that the number of people who have hearing loss doubles between birth and the teen years. So it's important to have kids' hearing checked regularly as they grow. Hearing loss in children can negatively impact speech and language development. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention of hearing loss is essential to developing normal speech and language skills.


Pediatric Hearing Evaluation FAQs

1. Why is a pediatric hearing evaluation necessary?

Hearing loss in children can significantly impact speech, language, and social development. Even chronic middle ear fluid (ear infections) can lead to speech and language delays if not properly managed. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention of hearing loss is critical to developing normal speech and language skills.

2. How much does a pediatric hearing test cost?

The maximum out-of-pocket estimate for a hearing test is $285.00 at our office. A large number of insurance companies will normally cover a portion of testing and consider it a form of preventative care. We strongly recommend reaching out to your insurance company before your appointment to see what type of benefit you have. 

3. Does my child have to be a certain age to have a hearing evaluation?

Children of all ages can be evaluated for hearing concerns by using different methods. Babies up to the age of 6-7 months are generally tested during natural sleep through Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) testing, which effectively estimates hearing levels using sensors. This testing is well tolerated by the infant who is resting in their caregiver’s arms or stroller. Children between the ages of 7 months to about 5 years old can be tested behaviorally through Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) or Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA), during which the child will participate in a task (hearing game) that is developmentally appropriate. Children that are 3-5 years and older can typically participate in the standard hearing evaluation that is also used to test adults, albeit more fun!

4. What is the 1-3-6 goal? 

The Early Hearing Loss, Detection, Diagnosis, and Intervention (EHDDI) Program at the Washington State Department of Health provides protocols for screening and diagnostic evaluation of newborns’ hearing.

One of the primary goals of the EHDDI program is to ensure that all infants born in the state of Washington:

  • Are screened for hearing loss before hospital discharge, or by one month of age

  • Receive diagnostic audiological evaluation by three months of age if needed

  • Are enrolled in early intervention services by six months of age if needed

This is also known as the 1-3-6 goal.