Here at Eastern Audiology, we conduct thorough hearing tests for kids, parents, and the whole family! A hearing test can establish if a hearing loss is present, and if so, the degree and type of hearing loss. An audiologist is a trained health care professional who conducts hearing tests. At Eastern Audiology we conduct hearing tests for kids in Hobart and in Melbourne with our 4 clinic locations, Narre Warren and Richmond (Victoria) and Bellerive and Huonville (Tasmania). A typical appointment will include taking a thorough case history, inspecting the ears with a small camera, assessing the health of the eardrum and middle ear function, performing a hearing test and listening and repeating words. The appointment for a children’s hearing assessment is typically 30 minutes in length and costs $88, or $83 for health care card holders. A medicare rebate for a portion of the assessment cost is available when the child has been referred for a hearing test by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist, or if the child has a team care arrangement from their GP that includes audiology.
The most common indicator of hearing loss in children is speech and language development delay. Children who are scheduled to see a speech pathologist will often be referred for a hearing test to rule out hearing loss as a cause of the speech and language delay before they begin speech therapy.
There are three different types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss (a problem involving the outer or middle part of the ear), sensorineural hearing loss (a problem involving the inner part of the ear) and mixed hearing loss (problem involving both the outer, middle and/or inner ear). Conductive hearing loss can be caused by outer or middle ear infections. Middle ear infections are common in children because their Eustachian tube (tube that connects the middle ear to the nose and throat) is underdeveloped and is positioned more horizontal than in an adult. Therefore, fluid builds up behind the eardrum in the middle ear space more easily causing middle ear infections (known as the common ear infection). The presence of fluid in the middle ear space causes difficulty hearing as sounds are dampened before they reach the inner ear. This type of conductive hearing loss is temporary and resolves once the ear infection or middle ear fluid resolves. If your child experiences recurrent ear infections or conductive hearing loss caused by middle ear fluid, referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist may be suggested to get this under control.
Sensorineural hearing loss refers to hearing loss caused by a problem in the inner ear. It is a permanent hearing loss and its less common in children. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by genetic factors, malformed ear anatomy, exposure to certain viruses and medical conditions, and some medications. Sensorineural hearing loss that its present from birth is promptly identified on the mandatory infant hearing screen conducted at birth. If a sensorineural hearing loss is identified by your audiologist, we will refer your child to Hearing Australia to confirm the sensorineural hearing loss, investigate the cause and implement a management strategy promptly.