Hearing assessments are performed for children of all ages in the paediatric audiology department and in the community audiology clinics.
The method of assessment will vary depending on the age and development of the child. However both behavioural and objective testing is possible for most children.
We also provide digital hearing aids for children diagnosed with permanent and temporary hearing loss and keep these children under regular review.
If you are concerned about your child's hearing, you will need a need a referral for hearing assessment from the GP, health visitor or another medical professional.
The assessment may take place in the paediatric outpatients department in Singleton Hospital, Neath Port Talbot Hospital or one of the community audiology clinics. Your child may initially be referred to the ear, nose and throat (ENT) Department if this is appropriate.
In Wales, babies and children are offered two routine hearing screens. The first is offered when they are newborn and the second screen is offered when they reach compulsory school age (the school year they turn five years old).
IMPORTANT - if you have any concerns regarding your child’s hearing, please seek a referral from your Health visitor or GP for a hearing assessment.
Newborn hearing screening - All newborn babies will be offered to have their hearing screened by a newborn hearing screener. This may be done on the ward or you may be sent an appointment to attend a community health clinic. The screen will involve putting a soft tip into each of the baby’s ears. The screen helps to tell the screener which babies may need a further hearing test or not. The screen does not detect all hearing losses and some hearing losses can develop with time.
School entry hearing screening - All reception aged children will be offered a hearing screen at school. The school hearing screeners will arrange a date with your child’s school and you will be sent an opt-out consent form before the visit.
From September 2022, if your child is of reception age but is home-schooled, you will be contacted by the Audiology department to arrange your child’s hearing screen.
Your child may have been referred to us for a hearing test by your GP, Health Visitor or other professional or they may have been seen in Audiology previously and need a further hearing test. How we assess their hearing will depend on their age and development, but it will usually include a listening game or task. If we have asked you to practice certain games before you attend, please do so as it is likely to make the appointment more fun and successful for your child.
Your child may not be used to seeing clinicians. Therefore, you may wish to show them friendly cartoon images on the internet first so that they are more comfortable with us.
If you are attending for a hearing aid review, please make sure to bring the hearing aids plus any accessories along with you.
Please let us know if you require communication support or if you have any special requirements. If you or your child are medically vulnerable and wish for the staff member to wear a face mask, please tell the staff member at the appointment. Alternatively, please contact the department on the above contact information before the appointment to discuss your requirements.
Below are some photos of some of our clinic rooms and waiting areas:
Neath Port Talbot Hospital
Sway Road Morriston Clinic
Typically, we like to do three things in most hearing assessment appointments:
There are a variety of different hearing testing options that are suitable for different children. Your clinician will decide which type of hearing test is most suitable for your child, based on their age and their engagement with the task. Sometimes, it may take a few appointments to build up a full picture of your child’s hearing.
Depending on the results of the hearing test, your child may be discharged (does not require any further appointments). If you develop hearing concerns in the future, a new referral is needed from your GP/ health visitor.
If there is a hearing loss present, or if your child is identified as being at risk of developing a hearing loss in the future, it is likely that you will be reviewed in audiology after a period of time (e.g. 3 months). If you are concerned that your child’s hearing has significantly worsened in the meantime, please contact audiology directly for a sooner appointment.
The Children’s Hearing Service Working Group (CHSWG) is a multidisciplinary group set up to improve the services for children and their families with hearing difficulties. The Group includes Parent Representatives as well as Health Care professionals such as Children's Doctors, Speech and Language Therapists, Teachers of the Hearing Impaired and voluntary organisations such as National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) Representatives. If you are interested in becoming a representative your child must be diagnosed with a hearing loss and aged under 18. Contact your Audiologist or Teacher of the Deaf.