measures used in children who use amplification as “auditory awareness, audibility of speech, speech intelligibility, accuracy of speech production, rate of language acquisition, loudness discomfort and social development.” Normal developmental time-courses exist for many of these skills in all children, as discussed earlier in this chapter. Such skills can be assessed only after they are expected to be present, regardless of the hearing status. For example, there are few measures of speech recognition for children under 3 years of age. For older children, it is important to distinguish the effects of amplification on outcome measures from normal developmental patterns and from the effects of the therapy and early intervention that necessarily accompany the fitting of amplification.
Surveys and Inventories for Pediatric Hearing Outcome Measures. Hearing loss is now often identified in very young infants due to the advent of newborn hearing screening. Few outcome measures can be used directly with these children. Consequently, it is increasingly common for professionals to use questionnaires or surveys of parents, caregivers, or teachers to gain insights into the early development of auditory behaviors. As children age, more direct objective measures can be taken if allowances for normal developmental patterns of ability are taken into account. However, questionnaires and inventories can be very useful for pre- and postintervention assessment over time, for example in assessing the use of amplification or devices such as FM systems.
Among parent-teacher survey tests is the Screening Instrument for Targeting Educational Risk (SIFTER) (Anderson, 1989), used by educators for school-age children. A preschool version is also available (Anderson and Matkin, 1996). The Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale (Robbins, Renshaw, and Gerry, 1991) and the IT-MAIS infant-toddler version (Zimmerman-Phillips et al., 2000) are parent inventories used generally with children who demonstrate severe to profound hearing loss. These scales probe for hearing aid use, acceptance, and basic auditory development.
The Listening Inventories for Education (LIFE) (Smaldino and Anderson, 1997) is a classroom inventory that includes student and teacher appraisals of listening difficulty and a teacher opinion and observation list.
Kopun and Stelmachowicz (1998) have used an adapted version of the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB) (Cox and Alexander, 1995) successfully with children ages 10-15 with hearing loss as well as with their parents. Discrepancies were found between the children’s assessments and those of their parents, which points out the need for development and validation of tools that can be used with children.