Oxford Paediatric hearing test specialists

Paediatric hearing test &
assessment in Oxford

Paediatric hearing tests

During the formative years, a child's auditory development is pivotal, shaping their ability to communicate and engage with their environment. Paediatric hearing tests are essential for tracking infants' and young children's auditory progress. Studies highlight that unaddressed hearing loss in children can hinder language skills, academic performance, social integration, emotional health, and cognitive abilities. Detecting and addressing hearing issues early is crucial for safeguarding a child's speech and language development, emphasising the significance of early intervention in paediatric hearing care. At Sensitive Hearing, we understand the importance of children's hearing tests in identifying any potential hearing concerns early on, allowing for timely intervention and support.

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Paediatric hearing tests

Spotting Signs of Hearing Difficulties in Children

Lack of response to sound

A lack of response to sound in infants is a significant indicator of potential hearing difficulties and should not be overlooked. Responsive behaviour to auditory stimuli is a crucial developmental milestone that reflects the healthy functioning of the auditory system.

By six months of age, infants typically exhibit reflexive responses to loud noises, such as startling or turning towards the source of sound. However, if a child consistently fails to react to these auditory cues, it may suggest underlying hearing issues that require further evaluation.

Delayed Speech and Language Development

Delayed speech and language development can be an early indication of potential hearing difficulties in children. Speech and language milestones, such as babbling, speaking single words, or following simple instructions, typically occur within specific age ranges.

However, if a child experiences delays in reaching these milestones, it may suggest underlying hearing issues affecting their ability to perceive and process auditory information effectively.

For example, infants may exhibit reduced babbling or limited vocalisations if they are unable to hear the sounds of their own voice or those around them. Similarly, toddlers may struggle to produce clear speech or understand spoken language if they have difficulty hearing speech sounds accurately.

Frequent Ear Infections

Frequent ear infections, also known as otitis media, can have significant implications for a child’s hearing health and development.

When left untreated, recurrent ear infections can lead to temporary or even permanent hearing loss, particularly if they result in the accumulation of fluid in the middle ear space.

This fluid can interfere with the transmission of sound vibrations to the inner ear, impairing the child’s ability to hear clearly.

Additionally, persistent ear pain or discomfort associated with frequent ear infections can be distressing for children and may affect their overall well-being and quality of life.

Difficulty in School

Difficulty in school, especially in subjects requiring listening and comprehension skills, may be a sign of underlying hearing challenges in children. Hearing is integral to the learning process, as it enables students to understand verbal instructions, participate in classroom discussions, and grasp academic concepts presented orally.

If a child is experiencing difficulty hearing clearly, they may struggle to follow along with lessons, misunderstand instructions, or miss important information during lectures or class discussions. As a result, their academic performance may suffer, leading to challenges in areas such as language arts, reading comprehension, and overall learning outcomes.

It is essential for educators and parents to be aware of the potential impact of hearing difficulties on a child’s academic performance and to seek evaluation from a healthcare professional, such as an audiologist or paediatrician, if concerns arise.

Early detection and intervention are crucial for addressing hearing challenges and providing the necessary support to help children succeed academically.

Social Withdrawal

Social withdrawal can be a concerning sign in children, particularly if it is accompanied by frustration or irritability, as it may indicate underlying hearing difficulties. Children rely on effective communication skills to interact with their peers, teachers, and family members, forming social connections and developing friendships.

However, if a child is experiencing untreated hearing loss, they may struggle to understand conversations, follow group activities, or participate in social interactions effectively. This can lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, or embarrassment, causing the child to withdraw from social situations or avoid group settings altogether.

Additionally, difficulty in understanding speech or responding appropriately in social settings may contribute to a child’s reluctance to engage with others, further exacerbating feelings of social withdrawal. It is essential for parents, caregivers, and educators to recognise these signs and seek evaluation from a healthcare professional, such as an audiologist or paediatrician, to address any underlying hearing difficulties promptly.

Early intervention can help improve the child’s communication skills, boost their confidence, and facilitate positive social interactions, ultimately enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life.


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Hearing Aids: Frequently Asked Questions

What age should my child have their first hearing test?

It is recommended for new-borns to have a hearing screening shortly after birth, ideally before leaving the hospital. Additionally, children should undergo comprehensive hearing evaluations at various developmental milestones, such as before entering school or if concerns arise regarding their hearing health.

How are paediatric hearing tests conducted?

Paediatric hearing tests may include a combination of non-invasive assessments, such as otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing, auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing, and behavioural audiometry. These tests evaluate the child's ability to hear sounds across different frequencies and intensities, providing valuable insights into their auditory health.

What if my child is too young to participate in traditional hearing tests?

For infants and young children who are unable to participate in conventional hearing tests due to age or developmental stage, specialised techniques such as visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) or conditioned play audiometry (CPA) may be utilised. These methods involve using visual or play-based cues to assess the child's responses to auditory stimuli.

What happens if my child fails a hearing test?

If your child does not pass a hearing test, further evaluation by an audiologist or paediatrician is recommended to determine the cause of the hearing difficulty. Additional testing may be conducted to assess the type, degree, and configuration of hearing loss, as well as to explore potential treatment options or interventions to support your child's hearing health.

Can hearing loss in children be treated?

The treatment options for hearing loss in children depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. In some cases, medical interventions, such as surgery or medication, may be recommended. For children with permanent hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants, auditory training, and speech therapy are common interventions to optimize communication skills and support language development. Early detection and intervention are crucial for achieving the best possible outcomes for children with hearing loss.

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