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Callier Center for Communication Disorders

Hearing Evaluations for Children

Caring audiologists at the UT Dallas Callier Center use the most up-to-date and innovative techniques available to gather information about the hearing capabilities of children. Tests and techniques used are based upon a child’s age and developmental level.

A complete evaluation consists of:

  • A puretone audiogram.
  • Speech thresholds for each ear.
  • Word recognition testing for each ear.
  • Tests of eardrum movement (tympanometry).
  • Measurement of middle ear muscle reflexes (acoustic reflexes).
  • Measurement of outer hair cell function (otoacoustic emissions).

Younger children are sometimes difficult to test. Special techniques are used to get as much information as possible from children who are less than five years of age or who have developmental delays. These children are conditioned to respond using “play” techniques and visual reinforcers. Often two audiologists are assigned to work with very young children and the more difficult-to-test children.

Typically, older children can complete the same tests as adults. 

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Tests
Cortical Evoked Potentials
FM System


Auditory Brainstem Response Tests

Sometimes it is appropriate to perform electrophysiological tests to assess a child’s hearing. When audiologists are unable to obtain reliable test data by observing a child’s behavior, an Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test may be recommended. 

To perform an ABR, electrodes are attached to a child’s ears and scalp, sounds are delivered to the ears, and a computer extracts the part of the child’s brain activity that is related to hearing. 

This test can effectively measure the response of the hearing nerve without the active cooperation of the child.  This test also can be used to diagnose other nervous system conditions which may affect a child’s response to sound.

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Cortical Evoked Potentials

Cortical evoked potentials (also known as late responses and the P1 response) is a test similar to the ABR. It measures a child’s response to sound in the auditory cortex of the brain. 

This test is often used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment techniques for hearing loss, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.

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FM System Evaluation

An FM system is a device usually fit in conjunction with hearing aids. It is designed to overcome the negative effects of background noise and distance for a child with hearing loss. 

During this appointment, an audiologist will explain and demonstrate FM equipment for parents.

Parents are involved in the selection of the various technologies available that meet the specific needs of the child.

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