Children's hearing assessments

When we test your child's hearing, we use a combination of methods based on their age, ability and interests.

We aim to test for the quietest sound that your child can hear at a variety of different frequencies of sound necessary for access to speech and language. Before we do any tests, we ask you a few questions about your child's hearing and development. We also look inside your child's ears using an otoscope.


Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) is a hearing test designed to be used for children of a developmental age of 8 months to 3 years.

Your child will sit with you, opposite an audiologist. A tone will be presented from either a left or a right sided speaker. When your child turns to the sound they will be rewarded by a toy puppet dancing in a lit box. Your child's attention is then drawn back to the audiologist so that additional sounds can be presented.

We aim to establish your child’s overall hearing (both ears working together) initially, then progress to establish ear specific information though earphones or headphones where possible.

Play Audiometry

Play audiometry is designed to test children’s hearing between 2 - 5 years old. Your child will be shown how to perform a repetitive play task such as putting a toy man in a boat each time they ear a sound.

Pure-tone Audiometry

Pure-tone audiometry is ideal for children from 5 years of age.

Your child will be asked to press a button to indicate when they hear a range of tones through either headphones or earphones.


Tympanometry is an examination used to test middle ear function. A probe tip will be placed at the entrance of your child's ear canal which will introduce variations of ear pressure into the ear.

Otoacoustic Emissions

Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are sound echos given off by the inner ear when it is stimulated with a sound. A small probe will be inserted into your child's ear canal to both play a sound into the ear and measure the echo coming out. People with normal or near normal hearing produce emissions. Your child will need to be quiet during the test which usually takes no longer than 2 minutes. 

Auditory Brainstem Response

The  auditory brainstem response (ABR) test measures the brain's electrical response to sound whilst your child is asleep. Four small electrode stickers will be placed on your child’s head, and the brains response to sounds presented can be determined.