Hearing is one of the most essential senses, enabling us to communicate, learn and experience life. Children rely heavily on hearing to develop speech, language and social skills – however, many children have undiagnosed hearing problems that impede their development if left unchecked – Therefore, having your child’s hearing tested regularly is crucial to detect issues early and seek treatment as required.
Sydney provides several quality options for comprehensive children’s hearing exams. Read on to learn more about their importance and where you can access them in Sydney.
The Value of Hearing Tests for Kids
Hearing loss is relatively common in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 2-3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with detectable hearing loss. Many more will experience temporary or progressive hearing loss later in childhood due to illness, injury, or environmental factors.
The early years are critical for speech and language development. During this window, children with undiagnosed hearing deficits can significantly impact their learning and communication skills. Hearing loss can also affect social development and educational progress.
Some signs your child may have hearing difficulties include:
- Respond when called from another room.
- Trouble understanding conversations, especially with background noise
- Frequently saying “huh?” or “what?”
- Turning the volume up very high on devices
- Speech delays or mispronounced words
However, hearing loss often has subtle symptoms that can be difficult to recognise. Routine objective hearing tests by an audiologist are the best way to detect any problems.
Hearing Exams for Kids in Sydney
Sydney has many options for pediatric hearing assessments. Here are some top facilities that specialise in children’s hearing healthcare:
Sydney Children’s Hospital Audiology Department
As the largest pediatric hospital in Australia, Sydney Children’s Hospital offers comprehensive audiological services. Hearing tests are available for newborns through 18-year-olds. Their audiologists have specialised training in working with children.
The hospital provides a wide range of services including:
- Diagnostic hearing evaluation
- Newborn infant hearing screening
- Monitoring for children at risk of hearing loss
- Assessment of middle ear function
- Auditory processing disorder testing
- Tinnitus evaluation
- Hearing aid services
Families can self-refer their child for an appointment. The audiology department works closely with ENT doctors, speech pathologists, and teachers to provide well-rounded care.
Australian Hearing Children Specialist Centre
Australian Hearing is a government-funded agency providing hearing services across Australia. Their Sydney Children Specialist Centre offers comprehensive assessments for kids of all ages.
Some essential services include:
- Free hearing screenings for babies as young as one month old
- Diagnostic assessments to detect hearing loss
- Hearing aid fittings and maintenance
- Auditory processing disorder testing
- Tinnitus assessments
- Counselling for children experiencing hearing loss
The caring staff includes qualified audiologists, ear, nose and throat specialists, and auditory-verbal therapists. Australian Hearing also works closely with schools to support students with hearing needs.
SCIC Cochlear Implant Program
Children with severe-to-profound hearing loss may benefit from cochlear implants as an accessible way of providing sound. SCIC offers Australia’s most extensive cochlear implant program with clinics all over Australia.
Their Sydney office provides cochlear implant evaluations, surgeries, programming and auditory rehabilitation therapy services. Their team includes experienced cochlear implant surgeons, audiologists, speech pathologists, auditory-verbal therapists, psychologists and case managers; together, these professionals strive to give children with implants the best chance at developing speech and language abilities.SCIC collaborates with local schools to provide educational assistance to children with cochlear implants.
Hearing Health is Crucial for Your Child’s Development
Protecting your child’s hearing early on is one of the best things you can do for their overall development and quality of life. As soon as they’re born, set up regular comprehensive hearing exams with a pediatric audiologist so any problems can be identified early and managed effectively.
Sydney provides top-quality options for children’s hearing assessment and treatment. From newborn screening to cochlear implants and more, Sydney can help your child experience optimal hearing health – essential components to hearing well! Your child’s ability to listen, communicate, and engage with their environment relies upon it!
What to Expect During a Child’s Hearing Test
If this is your first experience taking your child for a hearing assessment, here is an overview of what to expect during their evaluation:
At first, an audiologist will conduct a case history interview to ask about your child’s medical history, prior ear issues, exposure to loud noise and any other relevant factors. They will also gather information regarding speech, language and listening abilities to assess hearing ability fully.
Next comes an ear canal and eardrum physical exam using an otoscope to detect blockages or infections and rule them out.
At the core of any exam is a hearing test that assesses your child’s type and degree of hearing loss. There are various testing methods, and their selection will depend upon their age and abilities.
Child hearing evaluation involves conditioning your infant or toddler to respond appropriately to tones and sounds. Infants may react by moving, making facial expressions, sucking patterns or sucking patterns when hearing sounds; older toddlers and children can learn more active reactions, such as dropping a block when hearing noises.
Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) and auditory brainstem response (ABR) tests can assess hearing objectively without necessitating behavioural responses; such methods are often employed to screen newborns’ hearing upon birth.
Hearing tests for young children can be more engaging with an interactive approach that involves wearing headphones and being asked to complete simple tasks when hearing tones, such as placing a peg into a board or stacking blocks when hearing an audible tone.
Be assured that the procedures will not be uncomfortable or painful for your child. An audiologist will discuss what’s happening and work to keep them calm and cooperative throughout.
After completing the test, the audiologist will discuss the results and any recommendations with you. If hearing loss is found, they will outline appropriate treatment options. These may include monitoring, hearing aids, therapy, or seeing specialists.
Bringing your child for periodic, objective hearing tests ensures you stay on top of their hearing health. Feel free to visit your audiologist if you have concerns between exams.
Signs it’s Time to Take Your Child for a Hearing Test
While regular hearing exams are advisable for all kids, you should have your child’s hearing evaluated right away if you notice any of these signs:
- Respond when called from across the room.
- Asking people to repeat themselves frequently
- Difficulty following conversations, especially with background noise
- Mispronouncing words or having speech delays
- They are not being startled by loud noises.
- Turning up the volume very high on devices
- Saying “huh?” or “what?” often
- Poor performance in school or difficulty paying attention
- Ear pain, discharge, or frequent infections
- Family history of hearing loss
Trust your instincts if you suspect your child might have a hearing impairment. Early identification can facilitate faster resolution, helping prevent long-term issues from developing.
An audiologist can provide objective expert assessments. Early treatment for childhood hearing loss is highly successful; however, if hearing deficits continue over time, they could have lasting repercussions.
Do not postpone getting your child checked if there are any suspicions or lingering worries regarding their hearing. Instead, conduct a comprehensive hearing evaluation now and identify any potential problems before waiting and leaving any issues uncorrected.
Maintaining Lifelong Hearing Health
Children’s hearing tests in Sydney provide the foundation for future hearing health needs; however, don’t stop there! Involve your family members in protecting their hearing during noisy activities like concerts, sporting events, and using power tools. Boost their health while having fun!
Get your hearing checked as an adult to detect age-related decline early and protect against hearing loss and related issues like tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Build healthy habits like limiting headphone use and avoiding objects that could cause permanent ear damage.
Anticipate hearing needs as a loved one ages. Look for signs like social withdrawal, confusion, or ignoring people that could indicate hearing impairment.
Just as we schedule vision exams for our children, hearing exams should also be administered regularly. Listening and communicating are crucial skills in life at every age – safeguarding hearing allows us to get the most out of this precious sense.