Auditory Functions

This does not replace a hearing test. If you suspect your child has hearing loss, take them to be professionally tested. This test is to look for a weaker auditory process in one or both of the ears of a child with normal hearing auditory process.


Many times, a child with autism, learning disabilities, and behavioral disorders show a weaker audio processing in one side of the brain. This test is a modified Rinne test, as we are not looking of hearing conduction loss but trying to see which side of the brain is a little weaker receiving and processing sound.

Smiling boy standing with hand near his ear showing he's trying to hear

Testing for weakness

Stand behind the child. Hold the bottom of the tuning fork. Strike it on the palm of your hand and hold it a few inches from one ear. Have the child say “now“ when they can no longer hear the vibrating hum. Time how long it takes for the sound to stop on each ear. Conduct the test the same on both ears.

If the sides differ in the time they can hear there is a weakness and you should use these exercises.

Shorter time on the right side = left hemispheric weakness

Shorter time on the left side = right hemispheric weakness


One Ear Ninja Exercise:

A few times a week, put an earplug in the stronger ear so they are receiving stimulation only in the weaker ear. Try to work them up to keeping it in 30 minutes per day. Play music or talk with them during this time to stimulate their sense of hearing and processing sound in the weak side.


Tuning Fork Exercise:

  • Hold the bottom of the tuning fork and strike it on the palm of your hand. Hold it a few inches from the ear that was weaker until the sound stops for them. Do this 3 times.
  • Next, strike it on your palm again and touch the bottom of it to the bone behind the ear until they stop feeling the vibration. Do this 3 times.

Bone and air conduct sound. These two exercises stimulate both.

Perform these a few times a week for 2 months and see an improvement.