A pediatric audiologist is a trained hearing healthcare professional who evaluates, diagnoses, and treats hearing loss in newborns, toddlers, children, and teenagers. Similar to an audiologist, pediatric audiologists must be state licensed, hold a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Au.D.), and be nationally certified.
Pediatric audiologists work with infants and children with hearing loss and help them manage any hearing loss through hearing aids, cochlear implants, or speech therapy. They specialize in recognizing the signs of hearing loss early in order to help you be proactive about your child’s hearing and development.
What Does A Pediatric Audiologist Do?
The essential duties of pediatric audiologists include newborn screenings, hearing exams, hearing aid fittings, rehabilitative services, and speech therapy.
If you suspect your child has hearing loss, then you should take them to see your local pediatric audiologist. They will ask you some questions about your child’s medical history as well as why you brought them in. Then they will perform a diagnostic hearing evaluation to determine the type (if any) of hearing loss your child has.
After diagnosing any hearing loss, a pediatric audiologist will recommend and fit your child with hearing aids specifically designed for children, or they may recommend your child receives a cochlear implant, depending on the severity of your child’s hearing loss.
Newborn Hearing Screenings
In many states, a newborn hearing screening is required by law and is strongly recommend in other states. One of the main duties of a pediatric audiologist is to perform newborn hearing screenings for infants at the hospital. A newborn screening will detect any signs of hearing loss in your infant and will help you to be proactive about their hearing health if any hearing loss is detected.
Pediatric Audiologists and Speech Therapy
Many pediatric audiologists work closely with speech therapists to better assist your child. Hearing and speech are closely related and depending on your child’s age, hearing loss could affect their language development. A pediatric audiologist will work with a speech therapist to provide your child with the best solution to manage their hearing loss and to continue to develop their speech skills.
When Should You See a Pediatric Audiologist?
You should take your child to a pediatric audiologist if your child is having trouble hearing or if their teacher has expressed concern of their hearing ability in the classroom. Some signs you should look out for in your child include:
- They speak loudly
- They have a difficult time paying attention
- They only respond when they are facing you
- They frequently say “huh?” or ask for words to be repeated
- They have trouble following directions
- They have delayed reactions or no response when called
If you suspect your child has hearing loss, it’s important to contact a pediatric audiologist as soon as possible. Being proactive about your child’s hearing health is important to their overall development. Find your local pediatric audiologist and make an appointment for your child today.