What is Pediatric Audiology?

Jane Madell
July 20, 2021

mild hearing lossAs I travel around (mostly by zoom of late) talking with different groups, I get so many questions about pediatric audiology from families of children with hearing loss, speech language pathologists, teachers of the deaf, and listening and spoken language specialists.

I feel like I need to talk about this.


Pediatric audiology is not the same as adult audiology


  • Pediatric audiologists need to know all the same things that all other audiologists need to know about diagnosis, and fitting and monitoring technology.
  • In addition, they need to know how to get cooperation from a little person who doesn’t know why they are in the clinic and who cannot explain what they think is going on, what they are hearing and what they are missing.
  • They need to know how to set up a test room that is child friendly with appropriate toys for distraction and for conditioned play, chairs, tables etc.; with VRA reinforcement toys and VRA video.
  • They need to understand auditory development in children so they can determine appropriate test protocols.
  • They need to make friends with the child before starting testing
  • They need to know how to get a child who is not happy to be tested to accept insert earphones and hearing aids.
  • They need to know how to plan remediation when we don’t have a full audiogram.
  • They need to know how to make the best use of the short period of time when you have the child’s attention
    • Should you get all the thresholds in one ear and have them return to test the other ear or would it be better to test 500, 2000, and 4000 in both ears and at least have a general idea about hearing
    • They need to recognize when a child is getting bored and know to change toys.
    • They need to know how to help parents be observers and comforters for the child but allow the audiologists to do the testing
  • They need to absolutely believe that every child is testable. There are no exceptions. If I cannot test a child, it is my lack of skill (or my bad day) but it cannot be the child’s fault.
    • If I cannot test a child I need to write in the report “I was unable to test this child”.
  • They need to be able to explain all the test information to the parents in a way that is easy to understand. They need to recognize when parents are overwhelmed. They need to be available to answer questions.



  1. Well said! I will be sharing this with all students who have a practicum placement in our pediatric audiology clinic.

  2. It’s interesting to know what kinds of distractions could be used to make a child behave during a pediatric hearing test. I’d like to know more about that because my daughter recently hurt herself accidentally while cleaning her ears. It would be best to get a checkup for that to ensure that she wouldn’t have an infection.

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