Hearing diagnostics for children
If you as a parent have the feeling that your child does not hear properly, speech development is delayed, acoustic stimuli are perceived late or not at all, your child withdraws, school performance is suddenly worse, then you should consult your family doctor, paediatrician or an ENT specialist. Hearing disorders hinder speech development and, along with it, normal mental development. It is therefore of enormous importance that you enable your child to start therapy quickly after clarifying the causes.
How does the hearing diagnosis work in children? After a comprehensive anamnesis interview, in which your observations and information are very important, the ENT specialist will painlessly examine the ears, the nose and the mouth and throat. This is followed, also painlessly, by various procedures for objective and subjective hearing testing.
Acoustic stimuli are applied to the ear via headphones, and the reactions are documented and displayed graphically. This image provides the ENT specialist with information about the degree of hearing impairment and the resulting therapy.
Hearing checks as part of the school medical screening in Obwalden
School medical screening examinations have a public health focus. Health problems or risks should be detected as early as possible and in as many children as possible.
Good hearing has an important influence on the general development and learning ability of the child, is very important for safety in road traffic and also for integration into society. Therefore, the school health service in Obwalden newly introduced a systematic hearing screening (Otoacoustic Emissions, OAE) for the early detection of hearing disorders. The screening is carried out in kindergarten and in the 5th school year.
Procedure of the examination
The hearing test for children is carried out by 2 specialists from the Obwalden Health Office. The examiner first looks into the child's ear (otoscopy). If the examiner can see into the ear without obstruction (there is no earwax or fluid in the ear), the examination can begin.
A small probe is used to measure the external auditory canal. The device emits soft "clicking" sounds. These sounds are directed to the inner ear. When the sounds reach their destination, the sensory cells "respond" with vibrations that are transmitted as sound waves from the inner ear back to the outer ear. If a signal arrives there, a "pass" appears on the display of the device - everything is within the normal range. If the signal is absent or very weak, a "fail" appears. This can indicate a disturbed sound reception (e.g. also due to restlessness of the child or disturbing background noises) in the inner ear. This measurement must then be carried out again after approx. 2-3 weeks. Only after about 2 inconclusive measurements must an exact clarification be made.