Pädaudiologie: Facharzt, Untersuchung, Hörtests

Pediatric audiology

As a branch of audiology, pediatric audiology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders and auditory perception disorders in children. Together with phoniatrics, it should be seen as an independent specialist field. The discipline is particularly relevant, as developmental deficits can be actively prevented through early detection of hearing disorders and appropriate intervention. This primarily concerns language development.

Paediatric audiologist - specialist in paediatric audiology

Pediatric audiology specialists are referred to as pediatric audiologists. In order to work as a pediatric audiologist, additional further training is required after studying medicine. This generally comprises at least five years, of which two years correspond to basic training in ENT and three years are specialist in nature.

HNO pediatric audiology

Phoniatrics and pediatric audiology is a specialist, scientific and research field in its own right, but has its roots in ear, nose and throat medicine. There is also interdisciplinary collaboration between the two departments.

Paediatric audiology speech development

There can be various reasons for a delay in speech development, including hearing disorders. With the help of a specific anamnesis of speech and language, a standardized questionnaire on child speech development, clinical tests, audiological tests and, if necessary, an analysis of articulation and a spectral analysis, a corresponding diagnosis can be made. If a delay is identified, speech therapy and occupational therapy treatments, early intervention or speech therapy treatments are usually initiated. Advice for parents and guardians also plays a central role in treatment.

Paediatric audiological examination procedure

During the pediatric audiology examination, speech and hearing abilities of the child patients are tested. To a certain extent, the examination is age-dependent, as age largely determines the ability of the examinee to cooperate. At school age, auditory processing and perception, writing skills, concentration and other cognitive performance can also be assessed.

Paediatric audiological hearing test

Hearing tests in pediatric audiology must be adapted to the developmental age of the young patient. In principle, a distinction is made between objective and subjective tests, with objective tests being suitable for younger children as they do not require cooperation.

The so-called newborn hearing screening can and should be carried out on newborns. It serves to detect congenital hearing impairment and enables particularly early treatment. The examination is based on the measurement of photoacoustic emissions from the auditory sensory cells, so-called inner echoes.

Brainstem audiometry (BERA), also an objective measurement, measures the early auditory evoked potentials (FAEP) that originate in the auditory pathway and extend to the brainstem. The result makes it possible to determine the hearing threshold. The ventilation of the middle ear and therefore signs of conductive hearing loss can be checked using tympanometry.

If the child cooperates, subjective tests are also carried out. With the help of deflection or reaction audiometry, the hearing threshold can be determined in the free sound field. This is based on the examination of movements of the eyes, head and body towards a sound source. From around two years of age, play audiometry can be used. Here, the child's reaction in the free sound field within a play activity is observed

Sound threshold audiometry is suitable from around the age of four, provided the child is willing to wear headphones. This allows the hearing threshold to be determined separately for each ear. In addition, speech audiometry forms an important basis for the determination, implementation and verification of hearing aid fitting. Children are fitted with hearing aids by pediatric audiologists.