Hearing Testing for Newborns
Most health authorities are screening newborn babies hearing as a matter of course, days after birth. The screening is usually carried out by the health visitor or trained screener using an instrument that measures the “echoes” produced when a hearing system is working correctly. This test is very quick and completely painless and very accurate. This assessment is very much a screening procedure and if the baby fails, then the test is repeated on another occasion. Failing a second screening does not indicate hearing loss, it just warrants further investigation. Follow up diagnostic hearing tests are generally held in the Audiology department of the hospital.
Health Visitor Hearing Check
Following the newborn screening the next time your child’s hearing is officially considered is by the health visitor at clinic appointments at various stages during your child’s development. Once the child is of school age, health screening is often undertaken, including a basic hearing screening, but it is worth checking with the individual school to clarify their policy.
Keeping an Eye on your Child’s Hearing
It is as well for you to keep in mind your child’s hearing and to keep a watch for certain behaviours that may indicate a hearing problem, that could be of a temporary nature. If a child is withdrawn or shy or conversely is noisy and attention seeking in group settings, these two extremes depend upon the personality of the child but both can be indicative of a degree of hearing loss, which may make them insecure and not knowing quite how to interact in a group situation in a more natural way. Hearing loss can sometimes be missed and a child’s behaviour can be linked more to behavioural and educational type conditions such as Speech Delay, Dyslexia, Aspergers and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Listed below are a few indicators that are worth taking a note of, as they may indicate hearing difficulties:-
- Your child is inconsistently responding to sound
- Language and speech development is delayed
- Speech is unclear
- Sound is turned up on electronic equipment (radio, TV, cd player, etc.)
- Your child does not follow directions
- Your child often says “Huh?”
- Your child does not respond when called
- Behavioural problems in early years
If your child shows any of these signs it does not indicate they have a hearing problem, and even if they have it is unlikely to be permanent, but it may well worth following up with a simple assessment either via the GP surgery, who will organise a referral to the audiology department at the hospital or you can also arrange a private assessment of your child’s hearing at Aston Hearing Services.