Testing the hearing of babies is not easy, since they cannot tell us what they hear. A health visitor explains it is important to test a baby's hearing as soon as possible because of the impact any hearing loss can have on speech and language development. The tests are carried out when babies are roughly the same age. They must be easy to administer, not too costly and cause no pain or discomfort for the baby. The distraction test is part of this process. The baby's attention is attracted by a toy and various sounds are made behind the baby to distract it. If the baby is distracted and looks around for the noise, this generally indicates the baby can hear.

First broadcast:
3 March 2008

Ask the class to discuss how to conduct a hearing test on each other and record their ideas. The clip could then be shown and the difficulties of being accurate when testing a baby’s hearing could be discussed. It could also be used as part of a topic on sound, senses or growth. Pupils could also discuss what skills were needed by the nurse to carry out the tests and further research could be done on the functions and workings of the human ear.