Hearing Screening Procedures


Ages/Grades: The difficult to screen child 3 years through school age.

Purpose: To obtain valid results with children when a hand-raising response to the stimulus is not effective.

Description: A modification of the standard pure tone screening procedure in which the child is conditioned to respond to the sound by placing a toy in a container. This replaces the hand-raising technique normally used.

Equipment: Pure tone audiometer, stickers, and interesting, child-safe toys, i.e., animals, airplanes, cars beads, clothes pins, pegs and pegboard or nested boxes.

Facilities: Appropriate size table and chairs in a quiet, comfortable setting with some degree of privacy.

Procedure: Place the headphones on the table facing the child with the audiometer set at 2000 Hz and the maximum level to insure the tone is audible.

Screener holds the toy near their own ear, assumes a “listening” attitude and presents the tone. Indicate through facial expression that the sound was heard and then drops the toy in a pail. This may be repeated as often as necessary until the child shows interest.

Screener offers the toy to the child and places their hand on the child’s to guide the first responses. Encourage the child to wait until the sound is heard. When the child appears ready, present the sound and guide the child’s hand to put the toy in the container. Child may give consistent responses after only one demonstration or may need several to respond on their own. Demonstration first without and then with the headset on.

Reward the child with praise after the initial responses. If this is not effective, a tangible reward, like a sticker or food, may be given.

Other: The response interval (tone to response time) varies between children. Some children will drop the toy as soon as the tone is heard, others will wait until the sound goes off before dropping the toy.

If the child does not accept the headset, the screener should try putting it on for only one or two seconds, remove and reward the child. The time with the headset on should be slowly increased.

A timid child will often benefit from watching one or two other children successfully complete the screening.