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Children's Hearing Services

The paediatric audiology team provide a comprehensive hearing assessment and hearing aid service for children from birth onwards. Our team has considerable knowledge and experience in the assessment of children's hearing and the appropriate management of those children identified with a hearing impairment.

Newborn Hearing Screening Program

All babies are offered a newborn hearing test. Whenever possible babies will be tested before they have left the maternity unit. Babies who did not get their first screen on the maternity ward or babies who need a follow up test will be offered an appointment in an outpatient setting. Where indicated a baby will be offered a referral to their local Audiology Department for further hearing assessment.

Some babies will be offered a second test at eight months of age. They may be at slightly higher risk of developing a hearing loss in the first few months of life. Invite letters will be sent to all babies requiring this test around 8-9 months of age (corrected age where a baby is premature).

Children's Hearing Assessment

If you are concerned about your child's hearing we accept referrals from:

o GP

o Paediatrician or Consultant

o Health Visitor or School Nurse

o Speech and Language Therapist

o Other Health Professionals

During the appointment you will see one or two members from our paediatric team of specialised audiologists who are trained in testing children's hearing. The appointment will usually last 30 minutes. Sometimes you may need to come back for further appointments.

We will ask you some questions about your child's hearing, speech, general development, birth, medical history and any family history of hearing problems.

For children 6 months onwards we will try and test their hearing by getting them to respond to a sound in some way therefore it is important that your child is awake.

The hearing test needs to be carried out in a quiet room, so wherever possible try to attend without siblings. It is not possible to leave children unsupervised in the waiting area, but they are welcome to wait there if they are accompanied by an adult. All children 16 years and under must be accompanied by an adult




Birth to
6 months

We will carry out an automatic test for which we require your baby to be asleep. (see objective testing)

6 Months to 2½ yrs

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry

We will have your child sitting on your knee whilst we will play with some basic toys on a table in front of them. We will encourage your child to turn to a sound and be rewarded with a cartoon image that will light up and animate. The sound will be generated through a speaker, small foam tips in their ears, or through a small headband behind their ear.

2½ yrs to 5 yrs

Play Audiometry

We will teach your child to play a game when they hear a sound. This may involve a stacking or building game. The sound will be generated either through a speaker, small foam tips in their ears, headphones or a small headband behind their ear.

5 yrs+

Pure Tone Audiometry

We will have your child wear a set of small foam tips, headphones or a small headband behind their ear and play sounds directly into their ears. We will get them to respond by pressing a button when they have heard the sound.

* Ages are approximate and can vary depending on each individual child


We may carry out a test to see if there is any congestion behind your child's eardrums. This involves placing a small tip into the edge of the ear and puffing a small amount of air into the ear canal.

Objective Tests

For babies under 6 months or children who are difficult to test, we can attempt to assess their hearing without them having to respond, known as objective testing. These are the main types of objective test we perform;

1. Oto-acoustic emissions (OAE)

2. Auditory Brainstem Response (VRA)

The test can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours and on some occasions a second appointment may be required to complete the testing.

To obtain the most accurate results for these tests we require your child to be asleep.

For the ABR test we will clean areas of your child's skin on their forehead and behind their ears.

It is important that the room is quiet throughout testing and that your baby is asleep, therefore it is advisable not to bring other children to the appointment however we are happy for you to bring a friend or relative if you wish to.

After any testing, we will discuss the results with you and advise you if any further testing needs to be carried out. All relevant information will be passed to the necessary professionals as required.

'I am writing to congratulate you on your wonderful staff you have working for you at DMH.'

Patient, Catering / Porters / Domestics, Darlington Memorial Hospital