The service provides an audiological assessment and
management for children. We can see children from newborn to school
leaving age. 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
All babies are offered a newborn hearing screening
test. When possible, this will be done on the maternity unit before
the baby has been discharged home. You may also have this done at a
local health centre, clinic or hospital at a more convenient time.
If you are not sure if your baby has had this test please look in
your baby's 'red book' or ask your health
Some babies are offered a second test at eight
months of age, usually as they are at slightly higher risk of
having a hearing loss developing in the first few months of life.
Invite letters will be sent to all babies requiring this test at
6-8 months of age (corrected age if a baby is
The next test offered to all children is when they
Any child who does not pass their screening test
will be offered a referral to their local Audiology Department for
further hearing assessment.
If you are concerned about your children's hearing,
there are a number of other ways they can be referred into our
service, these include:
During an appointment you will see one or two members from our
team of specialised paediatric audiologists who are trained in
testing children's hearing. The appointment will usually last about
30 minutes, and sometimes we may need to bring you back for further
appointments if necessary.
We will ask you some questions about your child's hearing,
development, medical history and any family history of hearing
Depending on your child's age we will try and test
their hearing by getting them to respond to a sound in some way,
known as behavioural testing. This often includes some form of play
therefore it is important that your child is awake. If the child is
too young for the particular test or we are having difficulty
getting them to co-operate, we can attempt to assess their hearing
without them having to respond, known as objective
The hearing test needs to be carried out in a quiet
room, so if possible it is best to try to attend with only the
child being tested. 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 aged 16
years and under must be accompanied by an adult.
These are the main types of behavioural tests we
We will carry out an automatic test for which we
require your baby to be asleep. (see objective
6 Months to 2½ yrs
We will have your child sitting on your knee, and we
will be playing 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. We will be able to test
their hearing by getting them to turn every time they hear the
2½ yrs to 5 yrs
We will teach your child to play a game when they
hear a sound this may involve a stacking, building or jumping game.
The sound will be generated either through a speaker, small foam
tips in their ears, headphones or a small headband behind their
ear. We will be able to test their hearing by getting them to play
the game every time they hear the sound.
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
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.
We may also play a game to see how your child responds to speech
sounds. Depending on their age this may involve pointing to a toy,
a picture or repeating a word.
These are the main types of objective test we
1. Oto-acoustic emissions
2. Auditory Brain Stem
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 during the testing. We may need
to clean areas of your child's skin on their forehead and behind
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
'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been
excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very
thankful and relieved patient'.
Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital
of North Durham