Hearing Services for School-Aged Children
Hearing loss can occur at any stage during childhood or early adulthood.
Negative consequence of a hearing loss – either permanent or frequent temporary conditions, such as the middle ear disease include – poor classroom performance, educational outcome, difficulties in social interaction and eventually impact on vocational opportunities.
Prevalence comparisons of hearing loss suggest a significantly higher prevalence in the school age population relative to the prevalence identified in the newborn period. It has been estimated that the 3/1000 prevalence of permanent hearing loss in infants can be expected to increase to 9‐10/1000 children in the school‐age population (White, 2010) and permanent and/or transient hearing loss in one or both ears affects more than 14% (one in seven) of school‐aged children.
Therefore ongoing monitoring via screening and evaluation is important to ensure your child’s potentials are maximised.
Some of the signs to look for in suspecting a hearing problem in school aged children are:
- Difficulty attending to spoken or other information presented aurally.
- Requests repetition frequently.
- Fatigues easily when listening.
- Gives inappropriate answers to simple questions.
- Appears isolated from peers.
- Difficulty with reading skills.
- Difficulty with spoken and/or written language.
- Easily frustrated.
There are a number of ways to test school-aged children from 5 years of age. Most commonly we look in their ears, perform a test that tells us about the health of a portion of the ear called the middle ear and ask a child to perform a hearing test in a soundproof booth under headphones. Where your child may have difficulty responding to this kind of testing due to their individual needs, we can test them in other ways using methods that allow for their personality, behaviour and development. All of the tests are painless and most tests are completed on the day and in 45 minutes or less.
Auditory Processing Tests
There are tests that will consider how well your child hears in a range of more challenging listening situations, such as hearing speech in noise. This range of testing usually occurs after an initial hearing test and these tests are called Auditory Processing Tests. At present we do not offer Auditory Processing Tests.