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Pediatric Acoustic Reflex Threshold (ART)

What is a Pediatric Acoustic Reflex Threshold (ART) test?

Acoustic reflex threshold (ART) helps audiologists test for proper middle ear functioning in infants and children by testing the ear's natural reflex to lower the volume of very loud sounds.

What can I expect with Pediatric Acoustic Reflex Threshold (ART) testing?

An Acoustic Reflex Threshold is done in much the same way as Tympanometry—in fact, the two tests are often performed together. During the ART, the audiologist introduces a loud (80 dB) sound to test your child's acoustic reflex. Certain muscles of the inner ear normally contract at sounds between 65dB and 95dB. If the reflex begins at a higher decibel or doesn't occur at all, it may be a sign of a neurological disorder.

An Acoustic Reflex Threshold test lets the audiologist know whether your child's acoustic reflex is working correctly. In mammals, the acoustic reflex is triggered by loud noises. In humans, the range is usually between 65 dB and 95 dB. Muscles in the inner ear contract to help protect the eardrum from damage. The audiologist adjusts the volume up and down to locate the trigger point of the reflex.

A normal result means your child falls within the usual range. An abnormal ART may show some kind of a neurological disorder or nerve damage. As with tympanometry, an abnormal ART means more tests are needed.

What can I expect during Pediatric Acoustic Reflex Threshold (ART) testing?

The audiologist uses a probe to sends sounds at different decibel levels into your child’s ear. The results are sent to the tympanometer to show an either normal or abnormal reflex.

Pediatric Acoustic Reflex Threshold (ART) Doctors and Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are acoustic reflex threshold tests “hearing tests?”

    Acoustic reflex threshold tests are not “hearing tests.” Instead, they can identify middle ear issues in infants and kids with hearing problems.

  • Is an acoustic reflex threshold test conclusive?

    No, but can provide the audiologist with important clues about your child’s condition.