Hearing Exams in School-age Children

Per state and local law, children who are between the ages of 5 and 18 require periodic hearing screening. Without intervention, even a slight hearing impairment can increase the risk for academic and social difficulties in school-aged children. Exposure to loud music, which is common in older children and teens, increases the risk for hearing loss.

Screening recommendations for children who have a normal risk for hearing loss include the following:

  • Before entering kindergarten
  • Yearly from kindergarten through grade 3
  • In grade 7 and grade 11
  • Prior to entering special education or repeating a grade
  • When entering a new school system, if passing results from a previous exam cannot be obtained

In school-aged children, conventional audiometry is used most often to screen for hearing loss. In this test, the child is instructed to raise his or her hand, nod his or her head, or point to the appropriate ear in response to hearing a tone. Conventional audiometry often can detect slight high-frequency or low-frequency hearing loss in one or both ears.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015