Pediatric Conditional Play Audiometry
Pediatric Conditional Play Audiometry is a hearing test designed specifically for young children, typically between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. This type of audiometry employs play-based techniques to engage the child in a fun and interactive manner while assessing their hearing abilities. The goal is to obtain accurate hearing test results while making the testing process enjoyable and stress-free for the child.
The traditional audiometry used for adults or older children involves responding to different tones or sounds by pressing a button or raising a hand. However, young children may not have the language or cognitive ability to understand or follow these instructions. Conditional Play Audiometry, also known as Play Audiometry, overcomes this challenge by using games or play activities to elicit responses from the child.
Here's how Pediatric Conditional Play Audiometry typically works:
Pure Tone Audiometry: The test begins with pure tone audiometry, where the child is presented with different tones (frequencies) at varying volumes (intensities). These tones are played through headphones or insert earphones.
Play Response: Instead of using verbal responses, the child is encouraged to perform a specific action or play a game when they hear the sound. For example, they might be asked to put a block in a bucket, place a toy on a board, or stack rings on a peg each time they hear a sound.
Conditioning Phase: Before the actual hearing test begins, the child is familiarized with the play activity and the concept of responding to sounds. This helps establish a connection between hearing the sound and the play response.
Threshold Estimation: The hearing healthcare professional conducting the test gradually reduces the volume of the tones until the child consistently stops responding (e.g., placing the block in the bucket) to determine the softest sounds the child can hear at each frequency. These softest audible sounds are known as the child's hearing thresholds.
Frequency-Specific Testing: The hearing test is conducted at different frequencies (usually 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, and 4000 Hz) to assess the child's hearing sensitivity across the speech-relevant frequency range.
Pediatric Conditional Play Audiometry is widely used because it is child-friendly and effective in obtaining hearing thresholds for young children. It is essential to have a skilled and experienced audiologist or hearing healthcare professional who can engage with the child and accurately interpret their responses during the testing process.