Audiology

The main role of the Audiology Department of the Montreal Children’s hospital is to evaluate hearing, and support children with hearing loss and their families. Hearing is always evaluated in the context of communication development and global development of the child.

We evaluate children from 0 to 18 years of age. They are referred to us for various reasons, such as parental concern, having failed a hearing screening, presenting a language or developmental delay, having ear infections or to monitor the hearing in view of a medical issue.

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Our team

The Montreal Children’s Hospital Audiology team consists of experienced audiologists, who have all obtained a Master’s degree from a recognized university and who are members of Ordre des Orthophonistes et Audiologistes du Québec (OOAQ). Most audiologists specialize in particular areas of our field according to their interests and department needs. Specialization is acquired and maintained by continuing education, journal clubs, discussions and attending international conferences.

  • Audrey Hardy, M.P.A., Professional Coordinator (Coordonnatrice professionnelle)
  • Suzel Julien, M.Sc.
  • Julie Tran, M.P.A.
  • Christine Lemay, M.P.A.
  • Emmanuelle Lambert, M.P.A.
  • Isabelle Gauthier, M.P.A.
  • Cléo Audet-Halde, M.P.A.
  • Amélie Turcotte, M.P.A.
  • Sandrine Binette-Rodrigue, M.P.A.
Our services

The Audiology Department offers complete audiological evaluations for children of all ages. These evaluations can include a variety of objective and behavioral (subjective) exams. While measuring a child’s auditory function (or hearing), our professionals focus on understanding families’ needs and working with them to provide appropriate intervention.

Specifically, we work with the following departments and programs:

Ear-Nose-Throat/Otolaryngology (ENT): The Audiology and Ear, nose and throat (ENT) Departments collaborate frequently to provide the best possible care for patients. We work together in multi-disciplinary clinics to assess patients using our combined expertise.

Bone-Anchored Hearing System (BAHS) Program: The MCH Audiology Department was one of the first in Quebec to evaluate and fit children with this specialized hearing device. Ear, nose and throat specialists (otolaryngologists) and plastic surgeons from the Shriner’s Hospital refer patients who might benefit from this hearing system for evaluation, counseling and fitting of the external hearing device.

Quebec’s Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program (PQDSN): This program detects hearing impairments in newborns in order to provide early intervention to help the child achieve his/her full potential. The MCH Audiology Department is a designated training center for other audiologists in the province who participate in the program. It’s also one of the four designated diagnostic centers in Quebec to provide complete audiological evaluation to babies who need follow-up after their initial screening.

Brain Development Behavior (BDB) Clinic: The Audiology Department teams up with pediatricians and other allied health professionals (speech therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists) to offer expertise in testing hearing for patients with developmental delay, possible autism spectrum disorder or significant speech delays. In all of these situations, it is of utmost importance to ensure that hearing loss isn’t limiting speech, which can affect a child’s development.

Craniofacial and Cleft Palate Clinic: The Audiology Department works closely with the Craniofacial Clinic and ENT Department to offer hearing assessments to children with a cleft palate. These children are at risk of experiencing permanent or temporary hearing loss due to craniofacial malformations. All children with a cleft palate are tested at birth and are followed periodically throughout childhood to monitor their hearing status in order to intervene if and when necessary.

Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic:  Babies who have required intensive care at birth are at risk of having or developing progressive or late onset hearing loss. The Audiology department follows these children at different intervals to ensure that their hearing is adequate to support their development.

Trauma Program: We work as part of the Trauma program to evaluate children who have sustained a head injury that poses a risk to their hearing.

Refer a patient

Criteria

The Montreal Children’s Hospital Audiology specializes in services for children:

  • Aged 0-5 years
  • Children with special needs aged 0-18 years

Patients who fall outside of these groups should be referred to a community audiologist or a private clinic for an expedited visit.

 How to refer

Referrals are prioritized based on the presence of a risk factor for hearing loss. To refer a patient:

  • Please use this referral form to ensure adequate prioritization.
  • Please ensure the address of your clinic is well-written on your consultation request as this is where the audiological report will be sent to you following the child’s visit to our department.
  • Once completed, please fax (514-412-4136) or email (bdbci@muhc.mcgill.ca) the referral form, as well as any other document considered pertinent.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How and when can I get an appointment for my child?

Please note that in order to be scheduled for an appointment, you must obtain a medical referral for a hearing test from your child’s doctor. Once this referral has been sent to our department, it will be prioritized based on the presence of risk factors for hearing loss.

How is the hearing test done?

Hearing screening test - under 3 months: 

Two different types of screening tests may be performed depending on your baby’s needs. They are both automatic. We do not expect any specific reactions from the baby. The tests are painless and quick. It is preferable for the baby to be very calm, or even asleep for the tests.

Regular test - 8 months and older:

The audiologist starts by asking you some questions about your child’s general development, and by examining inside the ears to see if there’s any wax or blockage. The hearing test is then performed in a soundproof room, where your child needs to respond to different types of sounds (voice/music, tones) in a game-like activity chosen depending on his/her age and interests. The child is either seated on your lap, in a high chair or at a small table next to the audiologist. The child needs to be awake and collaborate for this part of the evaluation.

Other specialized tests:

The administrative agent or audiologist will inform you about how the test is done and any required preparation when scheduling the appointment.

Is my child too young to get his/her hearing tested?

A child is never too young to be tested. At all ages, there are ways to get information about a child’s hearing. The audiologist will adapt the testing methods to your child’s age and developmental level. The hearing tests will fall into two categories: objective and subjective tests.

Objective tests do not require the child’s participation and will be performed when the child is calm or sleeping.

Subjective tests require the child to participate in the evaluation and usually involve some form of play.

How long is the appointment?

Hearing screening test - under 3 months:

Approximately 10 to 30 minutes. We try to adapt to your baby’s schedule (feeding, sleeping) to perform the test in the best possible conditions.

Regular test - 8 months and older:

Usually lasts approximately 30 minutes. The length of the appointment will be influenced by the results, and by your child’s cooperation and collaboration.

Specialized tests:

The administrative agent or audiologist will inform you on the length of the visit.

Can I stay with my child during the test?  

Of course! You are welcome to stay with your child during every part of the evaluation. For certain parts, we may ask for your help (for example holding your child while we examine his/her ears). However, for the hearing test in the soundproof room, we will ask that you remain a quiet observer, seated at the back, to let the audiologist lead the test and engage with your child.

Does it hurt?

Nothing hurts in our department! Some exams require that we insert a little probe (similar to an earplug) in your child’s ear canal to measure the mobility of the eardrum or the response of the inner ear cells. The child may also have to wear earphones (over the ears or inside the ear canals) during the test in the soundproof room.

Some children do not like having their ears touched or find it uncomfortable, but it’s not painful. Our audiologists have more than one trick up their sleeve and will be sure to find alternatives if necessary. A lot of children even like their visit to our department as a lot of tests ae conducted as games. 

What if the appointment is during my child’s nap time?

  It’s best to schedule the appointment at a time of day when your child will be happy and cooperative. Scheduling your appointment before or after nap time is ideal, unless specified by a member of our team. You may tell the administrative agent the time frame that suits you best and we will accommodate you as much as possible.

Will I get the results right away?  

Yes. The results will be explained to you once the test is completed. If your child’s collaboration was limited during the evaluation, we will explain the partial results obtained and will schedule another appointment to complete the test.

Will my doctor receive a copy of the report?

The doctor who initially referred you to Audiology will receive a copy of our report. If you wish to have the report sent to another doctor or to another specialist (for example, to the speech and language pathologist), we will ask you to sign an authorization form allowing us to send your child’s audiology report.

How can I prepare my child for the hearing test?

No preparation is needed for the hearing test. It is actually best that you do not try to test your child’s hearing at home with different toys or objects as this could influence your child’s responses to sounds during our evaluation 

If your child is old enough to understand, you can prepare them by explaining what will be done during the visit (looking in the ears, listening with earphones, playing games) and that you will stay with him/her at all times.

Do I need to bring something to the appointment?

  • Hospital card and Medicare card. If your child does not have a hospital card, you will need to make one at the Pediatric Admissions Office (C RC.0036) before coming to the Audiology Department. Please plan on arriving 15 minutes earlier if this is the case.
  • Something to soothe or entertain your child in case there is a little wait time (pacifier, favorite toy, blanket, diapers and change of clothes in case of accidents, formula, snacks, etc.). Please note that no food or drinks are allowed in the testing room.
  • Any pertinent report from other professionals (ex: audiology report from another hospital or private clinic, speech therapy evaluation, etc.).

Can I take pictures or videos of my child during the evaluation?

We ask parents not to film or photograph their child during the assessment as it could be disrupting.

If my child is sick on the day of the appointment, should I still come or is it better to reschedule the appointment?

If your child has fever or any other symptom compatible with COVID-19 or presents with any contagious illness symptoms (for example: stomach flu, hand-foot-mouth disease, chicken pox, etc.), you should stay home and reschedule the appointment. Please contact us at 514-412-4454 should this be the case.

Who does the hearing test for my child?

The hearing test will be done by one or two audiologists, depending on your child’s age and development. Since the Montreal Children’s Hospital is part of the McGill University Health Center, there may be Audiology students and medical residents in our department. Some may participate in the evaluation and some may only observe, but they are always supervised by a licensed audiologist.

Resources

Conditions and illnesses

Please consult the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) tab. If you don't find the answer to your question, please contact us.

Tel: 514-412-4454

Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.)

Refer a patient 

The Audiology department is part of Brain Development & Behavior.

Please follow the instructions for referral on the Central Intake webpage and send it by:

  • Fax: (514) 412-4136
  • Email: bdbci@muhc.mcgill.ca