Although all babies born in WA receive a hearing screening to detect hearing loss at birth, passing the screening does not ensure normal hearing for life. Children may develop hearing loss at any time after, due to many causes such as conditions associated with late onset or progressive hearing loss; as a result of certain infections; head injury; or as a negative side effect of prolonged usage of certain medications for other illness.
The consequence of undetected and unmanaged hearing loss may vary depending on the age of onset ranging from the delayed development of speech and language skills, poor classroom performance and academic outcome and difficulties in social interaction.
Therefore it is important that your child receives ongoing screening and monitoring of hearing to ensure a sound start to education.
Some of the common signs of difficulties in hearing in the preschool age group are:
- Delayed or defective speech and language development
- Have articulation problems
- Not startling to loud sounds
- Poor localisation of the sound source
- Is easily frustrated
- Parent/caregiver’s concern regarding hearing
- Turn up the volume of the TV excessively high
- Respond inappropriately to questions
- Not reply when you call him/her
- Watch others to imitate what they are doing
Should there be any concern regarding your child’s hearing, it is very important to ensure your child’s hearing is completely assessed. TSH Paediatric Audiologists are very experienced in assessing hearing in infants and children and use age appropriate range of testing to evaluate your child’s hearing to obtain information regarding the type and degree of loss and ensure timely management should there be a hearing concern.
Generally the testing in pre-school age group include:
Birth – Three Months Old
- Perform a quick and non-invasive infant hearing screening (AABR) whilst baby is asleep. This takes between 5-15 minutes and can rule out debilitating hearing loss in both the right and left ears.
- Perform a more detailed Infant Diagnostic Test for children who have risk factors for hearing loss or have referred for further testing after screening.
Three – Twelve Months Old
- Perform a combination of tests that show how well a baby responds to sounds such as rattles, horns and tones presented through a speaker, as well as tests of the middle ear and inner ear.
One – Three Years Old
- Perform a combination of tests that show how well a young child responds to sounds such as speech and tones presented through a speaker, as well as tests of the middle ear and inner ear.
Three – Five Years Old
- Perform a combination of tests that show how well a young child responds to sounds such as tones and speech presented through headphones to individual ears, as well as tests of the middle ear and inner ear.