What to Expect at a CCHAT Hearing Appointment

What to expect at a CCHAT Hearing Appointment

In addition to its center-based services for children with hearing loss, CCHAT performs a number of audiological tests and diagnostic exams for the general public. Among the services available through the CCHAT audiological department are newborn hearing screenings, tympanometry, acoustic reflexes, otoacoustic emissions (OAE), auditory brainstem response (ABR) evaluations and a variety of audiometry tests to determine the health of your child’s hearing. 

Preparing for the unknown of an audiological appointment can be overwhelming. CCHAT’s team of professionals aims to put you at ease and make you feel comfortable through every step of the process. 

Meet Dr. Katie Isbell

CCHAT is fortunate to have Dr. Katie Isbell as the leader of its audiology team. Since 2016, Katie has been the CCHAT on-site audiologist, serving children on campus as well as those in need of services throughout the community. 

Katie’s goal is to make every child and family who comes into her office feel comfortable. She will explain each procedure she performs to the family and happily answer any questions that may arise during testing. Katie remains engaged with each child she serves and makes herself available for follow-up questions from the family. Her wealth of knowledge and experience in the audiological field ensures that each child will receive the best care and treatment possible.

CCHAT’s Audiological Testing Services

CCHAT is proud to be a community resource for those with audiological health needs. CCHAT does require a referral from a physician; however, CCHAT’s audiological tests and services are available to any family willing to pay out of pocket.

After scheduling an appointment (by calling CCHAT at 916-361-7290), there are a number of things to be aware of in preparation for your appointment date. For all tests, visitors should show up on time with identification and an insurance card. 

CCHAT can provide a list of what tests will take place at each appointment. Here is what to expect for each of the following audiological services.

Newborn Hearing Screening

If your child did not have a newborn hearing screening at birth because they were born at home or at a center that did not have the proper equipment, this test can be performed at CCHAT. Best practice dictates that a newborn hearing screening, which assesses the auditory system for hearing loss, be performed in the first month of life. Your child must be asleep during the testing, but it is best to bring them awake and hungry so that they can eat and fall asleep after arrival and set-up. This appointment generally takes about one hour.


This assessment of the middle ear occurs at most audiology appointments and takes just a few minutes. Tympanometry provides information regarding the eardrum and determines if there is any fluid or pressure in the middle ear space that might affect hearing.

Acoustic Reflexes 

This roughly 10-minute test assesses the condition of the small muscles that run through the middle ear space.

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)  

For OAE testing, your child wears a plug in their ears and hears soft, musical-like notes. Some hearing appointments will require an OAE when additional information is required regarding the health of the hearing cells in the cochlea. This assessment takes about 10 minutes. 


The ABR is the best way to do a diagnostic hearing test for children under 6 months of age. Your child must be asleep for approximately 45-60 minutes to complete this test, so it is best to try and keep them awake for a while prior to arriving at the appointment. While your child sleeps, their brain’s response to different sounds is measured to make sure that the auditory pathway is working the way that it should. This testing is most often used when a newborn does not pass their newborn hearing screening at birth. The entire ABR appointment takes about two hours. 

Behavioral Observation Audiometry (BOA)  

For children unable to sleep through an ABR, BOA may be performed. Facial cues, such as widening eyes, looking at parents and nose scrunching, are observed to determine if the child heard a particular sound. This test typically lasts about 30 minutes.

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) 

VRA is a behavioral hearing test for children around 7 months to 3 years old. During this test, children sit in the sound booth with a parent and listen for sounds. When they turn their head to look for the sounds, their response is reinforced by a small toy lighting up and moving around. A VRA appointment takes about 30 minutes.

Conditioned Play Audiometry and Conventional Audiometry 

These behavioral hearing tests involve your child responding to sounds with an action. Conditioned play audiometry is typically for children around 2.5 to 4 years old. Your child will sit in the sound booth with a toy near their ear and place the toy in a bucket or on a pegboard when they hear a sound. Conventional audiometry is usually for children 4 years old and up. This assessment involves your child wearing headphones in a sound booth and raising a hand or pressing a button when they hear the stimuli sound. Each of these tests lasts about 30 minutes.

CCHAT is Here for You

Whatever test is needed for your child, CCHAT strives to make the process as easy as possible. We encourage you to reach out with questions. Our friendly and professional staff is happy to provide the information needed to make you feel comfortable before, during and after your appointment. For a full list of services provided by CCHAT, visit our Services page. Learn more about CCHAT’s dedicated staff on our About page.

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