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Assessments under anaesthetic for your child

Patient information A-Z

Assessments for your child

This leaflet explains the assessments which may be carried out under anaesthetic. An anaesthetic is needed because some of the measurements require your child to be very still. You will be informed in advance which tests your child needs by your Audiologist.

Auditory Evoked Response (AER) testing

This assessment looks at the response of the cochlea (inner ear) and the hearing nerve to sound. Soft plugs are placed in each ear to present sound. Electrodes placed behind the ears and on the head measure the responses.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

A standard ECG trace of heart rhythm is performed to screen for heart conditions that may be associated with hearing loss.

MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

An MRI is used to look at the inner ear (cochlea) and hearing nerves. There are no known risks or side effects associated with MRI, but please tell your Audiologist if there is any reason why your child shouldn’t have an MRI scan, for example, metal parts, artificial heart valve etc. The MRI staff will double-check this with you on the day.

CT scan (Computerised Tomography)

A CT scan uses X-rays to look at the bony parts of the ear including the cochlea.

Blood tests

Blood may be taken for genetic testing if this has been previously agreed with you.

Before the assessment

An appointment letter with detailed instructions will be sent before the day. The ward may also contact you the night before to confirm everything.

The appointment involves admission as a day case on a children’s ward. The appointment letter includes:

  • When to arrive and where to go.
  • How long to go without food, milk or water before the appointment – not following these instructions could mean that testing cannot be done.
  • Negative Covid PCR test in last 3 days and isolate until the date of the procedure.

What will happen?

On arrival your child will be assessed by the nurse to check they are fit and well. A consent form will be checked through with you. You and your child will be taken to the MRI unit, the radiographers will ask a series of questions to ensure it is safe to proceed with the MRI, after which they will be given an anaesthetic. You can stay with your child while they are given the anaesthetic by a face mask, until they fall asleep. While they are asleep a cannula will be put in their hand or foot, and then the tests will be performed. While this takes place you may wish to visit the food court/café or return to the ward.

The assessments usually take approximately two to three hours, (sometimes less). The ward will contact you when they are complete and tell you where to come and meet your child.

After the assessments

Once back on the ward your child can have something to eat and drink. You may like to bring their favourite snack. The ward nurse will decide when your child has fully recovered and can go home. If required, the ECG department will perform the ECG and the results will be reported by a Consultant neonatal cardiologist.

Your child’s results

You will not get any results on the day. The results of the assessments will be looked at by the cochlear implant team and the findings explained to you at another appointment. Please contact the Emmeline Centre if you have any questions or concerns.

Contact details

The Emmeline Centre for Hearing Implants
Box 163, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ
Telephone: 01223 217589
Fax: 01223 586735

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151