Introduction: Course objectives

Audiology Practice

How the Ear Works

Hearing Loss

Detecting and Diagnosing Hearing Loss in Children

Newborn Hearing Screening

Hearing Testing in Children

Medical Evaluation

Intervention for Children with Permanent HL

Case studies


Credits and Acknowledgements


Last updated: 15-sep-10

Medical Evaluations

Family physician

A child’s family physician is the primary person involved in monitoring a child for middle ear problems and hearing loss. A family physician will routinely treat a child with antibiotics if an ear infection is diagnosed. In addition, the physician will refer the child to an otolaryngologist if the middle ear problems are persistent. A family physician is also responsible for monitoring a child’s development. Speech and language delays are the most common sign of hearing loss in children. If speech and language delays are suspected, the family physician will refer the child for a hearing evaluation to determine if hearing loss is a factor.


An otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) completes a medical evaluation of the hearing system and obtains a comprehensive medical history. If a hearing loss is present, the otolaryngologist will be able to determine if medical or surgical treatment can improve it. If a hearing aid is needed, this doctor provides medical approval for its prescription.

Medical Genetics

The purpose of a medical genetics evaluation is to determine, if possible, the cause of a hearing loss. It also may rule out any medical problems which could accompany a hearing loss. This evaluation involves a full family medical history, a physical exam of the child, a review of birth and delivery records, and, possibly, hearing tests for other family members. Based on findings of this evaluation, other tests may be recommended.


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Center on Human Development and Disability, UW LEND, University of Washington,
Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195-7920