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Special hearing tests for children

Thanks to our generous supporters, we funded new ‘Awake’ Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) technology to allow hearing tests to be conducted while babies, children and young people are awake.

ABR testing is used for children who cannot communicate if they are able or unable to hear. This could be because they are too young, too ill, or too cognitively impaired.

The standard ABR technology requires children to be fully asleep for the test. This means experiencing a general anaesthetic and the associated risks, discomfort and anxiety this may cause. For the family, it means additional waiting time and repeated hospital visits.

Having this state-of-the-art Awake hearing testing equipment in Edinburgh will reduce the number of children needing to go to theatre to be put under anaesthetic. It is also portable and not impacted by electrical or magnetic interference from other medical equipment, so tests can be carried out at a critically ill child’s bedside or in an outpatient clinic.

It is estimated 100 babies, children and young people will benefit from Awake ABR testing each year.