Audiology Program

Diagnostic Testing

Our team uses several tests to determine the extent and causes of your child’s hearing loss. These tests include:

  • Tympanometry: An evaluation of the middle ear and how well it is functioning
  • Behavioral audiometry: A measurement of the softest sound heard at different frequencies
    • Visual reinforcement audiometry: Most commonly used for testing children ages 6 months to 3 years old. We condition your child to turn toward a sound and then reinforce (reward) them with a light-up toy in response.
    • Conditioned play audiometry: Most commonly used for testing with children ages 3 to 5 years old. We ask your child to complete a simple task (place a toy in a bucket, stack blocks, etc.) when they hear a sound.
    • Conventional audiometry: Most commonly used for ages 5 and older. We ask your child to raise their hand or push a button when they hear a sound.
  • Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER): A test to measure how the hearing nerve sends sound to the brain. BAER studies are done with and without anesthesia.
    • We can do this testing during natural sleep when your child is an infant — such as a follow-up after a failed newborn hearing screening.
    • We can choose this testing for children over the age of 6 months if they are unable to participate in behavioral testing. This testing would take place under general anesthesia. Learn more about the BAER study with anesthesia.
  • Coordinated testing: Whenever possible, we coordinate your child’s BAER study with other necessary sedated procedures. This helps prevent your child from having to undergo anesthesia multiple times.

Treatment Options

If your child is diagnosed with hearing loss, we work with you to develop a treatment plan that is most appropriate for your child’s hearing loss and developmental age. Our team offers evidence-based treatments for hearing loss, including:

  • Hearing aids
    • Behind-the-ear hearing aids: This is the most common type of hearing aid we use with children. The hearing aid works by manipulating sounds in a way that makes them louder and easier to understand. It sits behind the ear, and sound travels through the hearing aid to a rubber earpiece (earmold) that fits in the ear.
    • Bone-anchored hearing aids: This is a hearing device used to treat conductive hearing loss or hearing loss in one ear only. It sends sounds through the skull to the inner ear through vibration. The hearing aid is attached to the head through a headband or surgically implanted magnet or support.
  • Cochlear implants: A cochlear implant is an electronic device surgically implanted into the cochlea to regain a sense of sound. Our multidisciplinary cochlear implant team helps families decide if this treatment option is a good fit for their child. Cochlear implants are used for significant hearing loss.
  • Frequency modulation (FM) systems: This device sends sounds from a microphone, typically worn by a parent or teacher, to a child’s hearing aid or earpiece to help the child hear in noisy situations. 

Other Programs and Resources

The audiology team at Phoenix Children’s leads or partners with many other programs and services to enhance hearing care for your child. These include:

  • Ototoxic Monitoring: Certain medications may be harmful to your child’s hearing. If your child is undergoing a treatment that may impact their hearing, our audiology team will work with your child’s physician, such as their oncologist (cancer doctor) or hematologist (blood doctor), to monitor hearing and perform developmentally appropriate testing throughout your child’s treatment.
  • Cochlear Implant Program: Our team works with Phoenix Children’s ear, nose and throat specialists and speech-language pathologists to offer cochlear implantation for severe to profound hearing loss. Our Cochlear Implant Program provides the support your child needs before surgery and all the way through device activation and monitoring.
  • Hearing Aid Program: Our pediatric audiology team treats hearing loss with pediatric-friendly hearing aids. Our hearing aid experts ensure your child’s hearing aids are programmed appropriately and work correctly. They also offer education to children, their parents and their schools.
  • Newborn Hearing Screening Program: Phoenix Children’s newborn hearing screeners perform state-mandated inpatient newborn hearing screenings at hospitals throughout the Phoenix area. We follow the “1/3/6” guidelines, providing newborn hearing screening by the time a child reaches 1 month of age, needed diagnostic testing by 3 months old, and intervention by 6 months old. We also perform outpatient follow-up hearing screenings at various Phoenix Children’s locations. Learn more about newborn hearing screening.