Hearing Screening

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Early detection and management of hearing problems can significantly improve a child's ability to learn. There can be several reasons for a failed hearing screen, such as inattention, fatigue, misunderstood directions, presences of middle ear fluid, excess ear wax, or a hearing loss.


Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)


This is an automatic test that does not require a response from your child. It is a test of the function of the inner ear or cochlea. A small probe is placed in your child’s ear. The tip directs sounds into the ear canal and records the responses of the cochlea. This test detects sensorineural hearing loss. Although this test sometimes misses very mild hearing loss or unusual types of hearing loss, it does identify most childhood hearing problems. (Ages 6 months-18 years)


Tone Audiometry


This is a hearing test in which headphones are placed over your child’s ears.  He/she is asked to respond when a sound is heard through the headphones. While we will try to complete pure-tone testing for children age 4 and above, there are a variety of reasons why we may not get completely accurate screening results. In those cases, we will use Otoacoustic Emissions testing.  (Ages 4-18 years)




This screening is performed if a child does not pass the hearing screening. This automatic instrument changes pressure in the ear canal and measures eardrum movement.  The test does not cause any discomfort and is helpful in identifying children with middle ear fluid and/or possible infection. (Ages 6 months-18 years)




Understanding Your Child’s Screening Report

Pass- Results of the hearing screen indicate age appropriate responses.

Refer- Results of the hearing screen indicate that responses did not meet passing criteria for this age. Refer to Marion Downs Center or pediatric audiologist of your choice for a diagnostic evaluation.

Refer (ME)- Results of the hearing screen indicate that the child's middle ear health may affect hearing. Refer to your primary care provider.

Rescreen- Results of the hearing screen indicate that responses could not be obtained during testing. Call Marion Downs Center at 303-322-1871 to schedule a free rescreen.  If your child is enrolled in an Early Head Start or Head Start program, we regularly return to these sites to provide rescreens.