The Children’s Paediatric Audiology Department is here to test the hearing of all ages of children from birth right through to school leaving age.
Children are offered an appointment because either:
- there is some concern about their speech or hearing; or
- they have had a hearing screening test in school by an audiometrician (the hearing screener) who has advised further testing.
Most babies have their hearing tested shortly after birth.
Permanent childhood hearing loss is actually quite rare; around 1 to 2 babies in every 1000 are born with a hearing loss in one or both ears.
Temporary hearing problems are very common in childhood, and many factors can contribute including coughs, colds and ear infections. This is the type of problem most commonly found during the school hearing test.
How to access the service
We accept referrals from GPs, health visitors, school nurses, speech and language therapists and from parents themselves.
What happens at the appointment?
When a child attends the Audiology Clinic they will have their ears examined and tests will be performed to determine their hearing level. The type of test depends on the age and ability of the child or young person.
From 6 months onwards: Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) Sounds of different frequencies and loudness are played through speakers. When the child hears the sound, they will turn their head and a visual ‘reward’ is activated, such as a toy lighting up. Little earphones can be used to test each ear separately.
From 2.5 years onwards: Play Audiometry
Sounds of different frequencies and loudness are played through earphones or headphones and the child is shown how to move a toy (e.g. man in a boat, peg in a board) each time they hear a sound.
From 4 years onwards
As the child gets older they are asked to respond to sounds by pressing a button.
After the test
The audiologist (the person performing the test) will be able to explain the test results at the end of the appointment and can give you a copy of the results. You can then talk about any further appointments that may be needed.
What parents have said about this service:
The staff were extremely friendly with both me and my child, they explained everything they were doing and were very pleasant.
Helpful Links | Find out more about children’s hearing
The NHS website
National Deaf Children’s Society | Support and information about childhood deafness.
Newborn Hearing Screening Programme | What tests to expect, and when.
British Society of Audiology | About the ear, and how it works.
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