Children’s Audiology Services
Childrens’ audiology services serve children with hearing issues (and their families), in areas such as:
Identification of hearing issues in children.
Different assessments can establish the level of your child’s hearing ability. The audiologist will advise you on the test outcomes and share a copy of the assessment results.
Hearing aid and earmould provision
Your child’s hearing level will determine the type of hearing aid needed to hear speech. Good ear-moulds are a vital part of hearing aid wear and children are eligible for this service until finishing education.
Routinely monitoring children with hearing difficulties to maximise their hearing potential.
Regular checks of your child’s hearing levels and hearing aids, and providing information for your family.
Referrals to other support services including:
- The Visiting Teacher Service for children with hearing difficulties (Department of Education and Skills)
- ENT Consultant
- Speech and Language Therapy Service
- Genetic counselling services (as applicable) at Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland.
- Details of community audiology services are available from NAHB, 44 North Great Georges St, Dublin 2.
- Information for parents on hospital audiology services
If your child was referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department of your local hospital, s/he may be directed to the hospital audiology staff for a hearing assessment.
Your child will be seen by an audiologist (a person trained in the science of hearing) who will run tests on your child to determine their hearing ability and the condition of your child’s ears.
What Tests Are Run By The ENT Department?
There are several tests that can be run consecutively, but the tests on children depend on their age and ability.
After your child’s assessment by the audiology staff, families are seen the same day by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) consultant who will discuss the test results with you. Where your child’s hearing ability is in doubt, you may be advised to book your child into hospital for a specialist test under sedation or anaesthetic.
This test is sometimes run with an ear examination or procedure by the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor.
Audiologists and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctors will gather your child’s personal history, to gauge the cause of the hearing difficulty, possible effects and the response needed.
An otoscope is a light-emitting instrument which clearly illuminates the ear canal and eardrum. This instrument can reveal physical irregularities, which may contribute to hearing loss.
This test to detect hearing loss without your child’s active participation, is very rapid and in recent years is run in the neonatal unit of the hospital shortly after a child’s birth. Otoacoustic tests measure activity by the small hair cells within the inner ear following stimulation by sound. This test is carried out on a calm or sleeping child.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
This test is similar to your child’s newborn hearing test and measures brain waves following stimulation by sound. It is run without the active participation of your child. As the ABR test is longer than the otoacoustic emission test, you can prepare your child by ensuring that their nap time coincides with your appointment.
This test records the movement of the eardrum after a change of pressure. Measures of eardrum mobility and middle ear pressure can be taken to see how the middle ear is working. This test helps establish the nature of your child’s hearing loss and may be used to record the acoustic reflex which occurs after certain loud sounds occur.
Audiometry (the common hearing test)
Your child will need to be awake for these tests since some co-operation and focus is required.
Prepare by making sure your child is well-rested and open to interacting with one or two sympathetic adults during the tests.
Pure Tone Audiometry
This type of audiometry test determines the softest volume at which your child can hear a variety of brief sounds. During audiometry, sounds are delivered through a loudspeaker, headphones or small earphones that fit into the ear canal.
Your child will be asked to indicate when the sounds are heard. Very young infants will be led to believe the sound is coming from an animated toy (the sound is actually produced by a clinician operating an instrument).
The clinician will produce a sound and wait for the child to turn. In older children, the child is instructed to respond to a sound by completing part of a game, such as a piece of a puzzle.
Once your child reachs a certain age, they respond as an adult by pressing a button or saying “yes”, on hearing the sound.
Older children will be tested using speech audiometry. This task is similar to pure-tone audiometry, but the presented sounds are actual speech. The goal of speech audiometry is to determine the softest level at which your child can detect and recognise speech. An older child will be asked to repeat words or to point to a picture that illustrates the word.