James W. Hall III
(Osborne College of Audiology, Salus University, Elkins Park, PA, USA)
JHS 2016; 6(2): 9-25
Substantial evidence supports the benefits of early intervention in infant hearing loss. Intervention can lead to the acquisition of effective communication skills and psychosocial development. Accurate diagnosis of infant hearing loss is not possible with conventional behavioral audiometry techniques. Objective auditory procedures are invaluable in the assessment of infant hearing because they do not rely on behavioral responses to sound and are unaffected by listener variables such as cognition, motivation, and language impairment.
Objective hearing procedures include aural immittance measures (tympanometry and acoustic reflexes), otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), electrocochleography (ECochG), auditory brainstem response (ABR), and the auditory steady state response (ASSR). Exclusive reliance on only one or two objective auditory measures often results in equivocal outcomes. Careful analysis of findings from a comprehensive objective auditory test battery can almost always yield a precise description of auditory status; it can often lead to accurate diagnosis of auditory dysfunction within weeks of birth. The key to meaningful analysis of findings from a test battery is the recognition of patterns associated with major auditory disorders. This is not a novel concept; it is simply the modern day version of the 40-year-old cross-check principle.
Keywords: Hearing, Hearing Loss, Infant