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Probes and Tips - November 2008 - Difficult to screen kids

the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Mangement

This newsletter provides TIPS to enhance your OAE screening and follow-up practices and PROBES about current activities so we can learn from one another's successes and challenges. Check out our website for more helpful resources: www.infanthearing.org/earlychildhood

November, 2008 issue

Tip of the Month 

Children Who are Difficult to Screen

Ever had a child on whom it was especially difficult to complete an OAE screening?  

Some children may dislike the feeling of the probe in their ear canal. Others may be fearful.  Below you will find some helpful hints for calming children and redirecting their attention.  
  

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  1. Use interesting toys that the child does not see on a regular basis to capture their attention.
  2. Redirect a child's attention away from the ear and toward another physical sensation by stroking the child's forehead or arm, or by letting them play with a ball of sticky masking tape, squeeze a water-filled or vibrating toy, or view a favorite TV program (with the volume turned low).
  3. Enlist the help of the teacher or another familiar adult who can comfort and entertain the child.
  4. Have the child watch other compliant children being screened.  Make it a fun "listening game" as the children "take turns" being screened.  Never introduce the activity by telling children you are going to "test" their hearing!
  5. Introduce the child to the equipment and probe without attempting to conduct the screening that day.  Suggest that the child can have a turn in another day or two.  Set up the screening as a reward. 
  6. Use a meaningful reward to offer the child after a completed screening such as stickers, an opportunity to play with a toy, go outside, or have a snack.
  7. Have someone else attempt to do the screening.
  8. Screen during naptime, if possible, or consider arranging a way to screen a child who arrives at the program asleep in a car seat.
  9. Allow the child to become familiar with the probe by handling it and placing it in the ear of a doll.  Encourage the child to engage his or her imagination by saying, "let the dolly listen to the iPod" or "let the dolly hear the music."
Keep in mind that if a child appears to be pulling on an ear in discomfort, or reacting to an adult touching the ear, this may be a sign of an ear infection.  A direct referral to a health care provider may be in order.   If you are still not able to complete the screening after trying the strategies above,  refer the child to an audiologist for the screening to be completed. 

Probe of the Month

What strategies have you used in attempting to screen children who are less than cooperative?
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