Aided speech perception testing practices for children three to six years of age with permanent hearing loss

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Journal of Educational Audiology



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Routine early identification and management of hearing loss in infants is relatively recent because newborn hearing screening has become a standard of care in the United States. More children are identified with hearing loss earlier and achieve age-appropriate speech and language skills. This means that younger children have the skills needed to participate in more challenging, open-set speech perception testing procedures. This study examined current practice patterns of pediatric audiologists to provide insight into how speech perception testing is being utilized to validate aided benefit for this population. The present study used a cross-sectional survey design. The survey consisted of 23 questions that addressed four aspects of audiology practice: (1) practice demographics, (2) speech perception tests used based on age (i.e., 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-yearolds, 6-year-olds), (3) test variables and conditions, and (4) communication and collaboration with speech-language pathologists and educators. The survey was completed anonymously online. One hundred and forty-five audiologists from 37 states completed the survey (14% return rate). One-quarter of the pediatric audiologists who responded who work with preschool-aged children with hearing loss do not include aided speech perception testing. Audiologists reported selecting three tests most frequently and using monitored live voice more often (82%) than recorded speech. In addition, the presentation level selected varied among providers. Further research is needed to better provide guidance for testing decisions and understand how test parameters contribute to speech perception performance for preschool-aged children with hearing loss.

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