How VRA technology improves the diagnosis and treatment of hearing problems in children
In this article, we will discuss pediatric audiology and the importance of early detection of hearing problems in children. Additionally, we will focus on visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) technology and how this tool can improve the diagnosis and treatment of hearing problems in children.
What is Pediatric Audiology?
Pediatric audiology is a branch of audiology that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of hearing problems in children. Pediatric audiologists work with children of all ages, from newborns to adolescents, to evaluate and treat hearing problems that may affect language development and learning.
The Importance of Early Detection of Hearing Problems
Early detection of hearing problems in children and infants is crucial to ensure that they are reaching critical milestones in their language development and learning. Early detection can also help prevent future problems, such as delayed language development and difficulty reading and writing.
What is VRA Technology?
VRA (Visual Reinforcement Audiometry) technology is a method used by pediatric audiologists to assess the hearing of children. It is a non-invasive technique that allows for the evaluation of hearing in young children who are unable to respond to auditory stimuli verbally. It is particularly useful in the evaluation of children who cannot cooperate in a conventional audiometry test.
Before carrying out the VRA audiometry, it is essential to conduct a conditioning phase. During this phase, the audiologist explains to the child and parents what the test involves and conditions the child to associate an auditory stimulus with a visual one. This phase is crucial to ensure that the child understands the task and can carry out the test effectively. Once the conditioning phase is completed, VRA audiometry tests can be carried out to assess the child’s hearing.
During a VRA test, a sound stimulus is used to get the child’s attention, and then a video or an image is presented to reward their correct response. The audiologist presents sounds of different frequencies and volumes through the speakers and records the child’s response when they turn their head towards the screen that emits a visual stimulus in response to the sound. If the child does not respond, the test is repeated with a stimulus of higher intensity.
Modes of VRA
It is important to note that there are different modes of VRA that can be used depending on the age and ability of the patient.
Synchronized: This is the automatic option that makes the process easier. Clicking “PLAY” will emit a sound in the specified channel (right or left), and the video will automatically play on the corresponding screen.
Manual: In this option, the user controls the emission of sound and visual stimuli. Clicking “PLAY” will emit a sound in the specified channel (right or left), and depending on the patient’s response, the “PLAY” button within the VRA options can be clicked to play the movie.
Patient: This option is activated by the patient’s response. It shows a visual reward when the patient recognizes the auditory stimulus, which is suitable for children between 3 and 6 years old.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that pediatric audiology and VRA can significantly improve the quality of life for children with hearing problems. By detecting and treating hearing problems from an early age, delayed language development and communication skills can be prevented, which can have a positive impact on their academic and social success in the future.
If you suspect your child has hearing problems, do not hesitate to seek help from a pediatric audiologist and ask about VRA technology. With early detection and proper treatment, children can overcome the challenges associated with hearing problems and develop to their fullest potential.
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