Types of Hearing Tests

Available Hearing Tests

The goal of a hearing test is to determine a child’s hearing ability across all audio frequencies. The ability to hear a wide-range of frequencies is needed to clearly hear speech and environmental sounds. A variety of hearing tests are available based on a child’s individual developmental age and capability.

VRA (Visual Reinforcement Audiometry)

This form of testing is typically used with very young children (6 months – 2.5 years). The child sits with a parent or caregiver in the test booth. A variety of sounds are presented. When the child turns towards the sound they are rewarded with a brief video.

CPA (Conditioned Play Audiometry)

This form of testing is used with preschool aged children. The child sits at a table with a testing assistant. They are taught to do an activity (such as drop a peg in a bucket or place a peg on a peg board) when they hear a tone.

Conventional Audiometry

This form of testing can be used with children once they reach school age. This testing is what most adults remember from hearing tests when they were children. The child is instructed to raise their hand when they hear a tone.

ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response)

This form of testing is used when the child is unable to participate in any of the above testing methods due to age or developmental delays. The child is asleep for this testing: natural sleep if under 6 months of age or with sedation if older. Electrodes are placed on the child’s head to read neurologic responses to tones presented through earphones.

Other Tests Often Included in Hearing Evaluations

  • Immittance (Tympanometry and/or Acoustic Reflexes)
    • Looks at the functioning of the middle ear
  • Otoacoustic Emissions
    • Looks at the functioning of the inner ear
  • Speech Testing
    • Threshold: How softly can your child hear speech
    • Recognition: How clearly can your child hear speech