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Hearing Problems in Children

Paediatric audiology is an important part of our practice, since we understand that hearing loss in children can be devastating to their natural development. Once any hearing loss is determined in your child we will advise you on what must be done to counteract it.

Hearing problems in children can be congenital or acquired, they can be temporary or permanent. Hearing problems in a newborn can be diagnosed with hearing screening for babies, usually done at one month of age. In infants, hearing problems are not easily noticed until they are 12-18 months old.

Ear infections and glue ear

The ear is comprised of outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The most common infection in children is middle ear infection (otitis media). In healthy children the middle ear is filled with air but in cases of ear infection, fluid or mucus gets accumulated instead. An excessive accumulation of thick fluid or “glue” in the ear (hence the condition glue ear) impedes the passage of sound into the ear, and if left untreated, may lead to hearing loss.

How can you determine whether your child has a problem with their hearing?

When most babies hear a sound they generally look for its source. You may shake a rattle near your child but out of their sight; if they hear the noise they will turn towards it. An infant with ear infection may have poor sleep, fever, fluid draining from their ear, tugging or pulling of the affected ear and show no response to quiet sounds. A child with glue ear will not be able to hear properly because of the ear blockage, a loud noise will have no effect on him or her, affecting their ability to pay attention, interact or talk to others.

If you suspect your child has a problem with hearing it is essential to contact your GP who may refer the child to a paediatric audiologist for further assessment. Some paediatric hearing tests can only be done for those aged three years old or more, but the OA testing can be done on infants and younger children because it is a passive procedure that does not require a client response: a small probe delivers the stimulus to the infant’s ear and measures the cochlear response without the child having to do anything.

At City Hearing, our audiologists are have years of experience in paediatric audiology and are qualified to perform Otoacoustic Emissions (OAs) testing which can be done even on newborns to ascertain their degree of hearing loss, if any. If you have any concern or suspect hearing problems in your child, contact us today.