At ASE audiology we can perform children’s hearing tests aged 1 and upwards. The assessment is suited to the developmental stage of the child and is carried out in a child friendly and interactive manner – usually through playing games. Children are not ‘little adults’ and should be assessed by an audiologist with a speciality in paediatric hearing tests.
Reasons that a child should have a hearing test may include:
- Concerns about hearing / responses to sounds (mishearing words or asking for repetition)
- Concerns about Speech and Language Development
- Concerns about educational progress
- Concerns about social interaction
Concerns about hearing
If a child does not appear to hear well, mishear what is said or ask for repetition then this may be a sign that they have a hearing loss. Hearing loss in children can be temporary, usually as a result of glue ear; or permanent, usually due to a ‘sensorineural’ hearing loss. If you have concerns that your child does not hear as well or as clearly as you would expect them to then it is sensible to request a hearing test to check whether they can hear clearly.
Concerns about Speech and Language Development
If your child has a delay in their language development, or if their speech is unclear, then this may indicate that they have a hearing loss, meaning that they are not hearing speech clearly. We learn to speak as we hear, and so if we are not hearing clearly then this may impact the clarity of our speech. At ASE audiology we can also signpost you to specialist Paediatric Speech and Language Therapists with whom we work closely in order to provide a complete service for you and your child.
Concerns about Educational Progress
If you or your child’s teacher have concerns about their educational progress this may indicate that your child has a hearing loss. A child with a hearing loss will not always hear what is said in the classroom environment and so may miss vital information regarding what they are being asked or taught. As a result their educational progress may be slower than expected or may plateau at the onset of a change in their hearing.
Concerns about Social Interaction
If your child is not responding to their name, not meeting communication milestones or not understanding instructions as well as their peers then this may be a sign that they have either a hearing loss or communication disorder. At ASE audiology we have links with a Paediatric Education Psychologist who we can refer on to if necessary.
Hearing Loss in Children
Glue ear (Otitis Media with Effusion / OME) The most common cause of hearing loss in children is glue ear, most commonly caused by coughs and colds. This is temporary in nature but can have a significant impact on a child’s educational, social and speech and language development. Glue ear is often thought of as an ‘ear infection’ as it can cause redness of the eardrum and earache.
Up to 80% of children will suffer with glue ear at some point in their lives, most commonly around ages 2 and/or 4. The management of Glue Ear (as stated in the NICE CG60 Guidelines) involves a hearing test, followed by a period of ‘watchful waiting’ to see if the condition resolves spontaneously. If the glue ear persists beyond this period then intervention (via grommets or temporary hearing aid fitting) is required. At ASE audiology we are able to manage this pathway for you and your child via our close links with specialist Paediatric ENT consultants, as well as via our access to and clinical expertise in fitting hearing aids for children.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is a permanent hearing loss caused by damage or abnormalities in the inner part of the ear. This will result in hearing loss and can vary in severity. The management of sensorineural hearing loss is usually via a hearing aids or implantable hearing device dependent upon the degree of hearing loss identified.