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Behavioral Observation Audiometry

Purpose
Assesses hearing acuity using unconditioned responses to sound (i.e., reflexive and orienting behaviors). Appropriate for children from birth through age 7 months.

Procedure
The infant is observed for changes in behavior after presentation of an acoustic stimulus in the soundfield (through speakers) or with Hear-Kit Noisemakers.

Results
This screening test provides information about age-appropriateness of an infant's response to supra-threshold sound. Can rule out significant hearing loss. 

Limitations
This method relies solely on the audiologist's observations to determine when a response to sound has occurred. Cannot be used to define auditory thresholds.

Resources
Buttross, S. L., Gearhart, J. G., & Peck, J. E. (1995). Early identification and management of hearing impairment, American Family Physician, 51(6), 1437-1447.

Stelmachowicz, P. G., & Gorga, M. Audiology: Early Identification and Management of Hearing Loss.

In Cummings, Fredrickson, Harker, Krause, Richardson, Schuller (eds.) Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 3rd Edition. Mosby-Year Book, Inc., pp 401-417. 1998. This chapter provides an overview of early identification and quantification of hearing loss, as well as management strategies and amplification.