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Children’s Hearing testing – Paediatric Audiology

We are able to test children’s hearing

Ballarat Hearing Clinic is contracted to provide Paediatric and Outpatient Audiology to Ballarat Health Services, located within Ballarat Base Hospital.  We are able to see newborns referred by the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program and can see medically referred children to the age of 16 years.

Service is provided at the Ballarat Base Hospital, Level 2, West.

DO NOT contact the Base Hospital about Audiology service as Ballarat Hearing Clinic coordinates all Audiologists and appointments.

Appointments can only be made with a current medical referral.  General Practitioners and other Medical Specialists can contact us for referral pads.  Referrals can be faxed to (03) 5333 2964 or emailed to: reception@ballarathearingclinic.com.au

Newborn Hearing Screening Program and Diagnostic Testing

Australia’s first newborn hearing screening program commenced in the Maternity Unit at Ballarat Health Services in November 1998 and was followed by St John of God Maternity Unit in January 2000.  This inspirational feat was made possible by the knowledge and determination of Richard Roper and Dr. Maurice Easton.

It is possible to accurately determine a baby’s level of hearing when they are only 1 day old.  Babies should all receive hearing screening in the first few weeks of life.  The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program is responsible for the screening of newborn’s hearing in Victoria.

For more information on the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program visit www.rch.org.au/vihsp/

Ballarat Hearing Clinic was pivotal in the implementation of Australia’s first and longest standing hearing screening program and offers Newborn Diagnostic Hearing Assessment for newborns.

How do you test a newborn baby ’s hearing?

We do not have to rely on an infant’s reaction to sound, which is unreliable in the early stages of development.  We prefer the baby to be asleep and we use several types of technology to assess whether a baby’s ear is functioning normally.

Babies with a “refer” result on screening are seen by an audiologist at 4-8 weeks of age for a full hearing assessment to ensure hearing is adequate for development of speech and language. The fundamentals of speech and language are learnt in the first few months of life, so it is important to detect and treat any hearing disorders early.

Audiologists are trained to measure eardrum compliance and middle ear status using high frequency probe tone tympanometry, Distortion Product and Transient Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions, Auditory Brainstem Response and Auditory Steady State Response.  These tests can provide a full understanding of the degree and type of hearing problems without any need for the baby to respond.  Behavioural testing of infant’s hearing can be undertaken from about 6 months of age.

Hearing testing of older Children

We offer a general paediatric Audiology service for children to the age of 16 years inclusive.

Testing involves tympanometry to evaluate middle ear status, Visual Reinforcement Audiometry for younger children and play audiometry for older children.  Pure tone audiometry can usually evaluate the degree and type of hearing loss.  Bone conduction testing is performed where necessary.

Testing for children is usually a fun and enjoyable experience

We DO NOT perform Auditory Processing Assessments but can offer some advice on the topic at appointments.

Testing is reported to relevant agencies including the referral source and explanations of results given to parents.

Hearing testing is useful to help Medical Practitioners determine whether Otologist or other referral is warranted.  Most childhood hearing issues are successfully treated medically.

Hearing testing is important to rule out concerns related to speech and language development and academic progress.

Parental concern or uncertainty about hearing is a good reason for testing.  This includes children with possible selective hearing and behavioural issues.

Children with a family history of genetic hearing loss from a young age should be tested as should children who have experienced major illness or have other disabilities.

It is recommended that all children have their hearing tested prior to starting school.

What if a hearing problem is detected?

If problems are detected that are significant enough to impair speech and language development, children are referred to appropriate specialist agencies.  Most problems are due to middle ear pathology, which can be treated medically so a doctor’s referral may be organised.
For hearing losses that are permanent, infants may be referred for hearing aid fitting by Australian Hearing or for assessment for cochlear implantation (A bionic ear).  Many specialist agencies exist to help parents with newborns and older children diagnosed with hearing loss and your Audiologist will be able to put you in contact with all relevant agencies.

If your infant is diagnosed with a hearing loss we recommend you the following web link for helpful information: www.education.vic.gov.au/ecsmanagement/intervention/hik.htm

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