Paediatric Hearing (Audiology) Services
If you are concerned about your child’s hearing please see one of the following professionals to be referred for a hearing assessment:
- Health Visitor
- Speech and Language Therapist
Hearing assessments are tailored to your child’s age.
Babies up to 8 months can have a hearing assessment but they will need to be a sleep for the assessment to work. They do not need to arrive a sleep but will need to sleep during the appointment for the assessment. Please bring, milk, and anything you use to help your baby sleep. This appointment can be up to 2 hours long.
Older Babies and Toddlers
This hearing assessment is usually for 30 minutes. The assessment will involve them sitting on your lap and turning to sounds, we will also look in your child’s ears. This assessment works best if they are well and not near or during a nap time. If your child has problems with wax we would advise you to see your GP or nurse before your appointment.
Pre-schoolers and Children
This hearing assessment is usually for 30 minutes. The assessment will involve them wearing headphone and listen to sounds, pre-schoolers will have a game to play when listen for sounds, older children will press a button when they can hear sounds. We will also look in your child’s ears. If your child has problems with wax we would advise you to see your GP or nurse before your appointment.
Hearing Aid Services
At Kettering General Hospital we have a dedicated children’s team to look after your child’s Hearing Aid needs, we provide the latest hearing aid technology provided on the NHS. We provide hearing aids for newborns all the way to the end of full time education.
Please see the contact details to arrange an appointment. An initial referral to our service will need to be made if it is the first time to our service.
Signs that your child may need a hearing test
- Red ears, or recurrent earaches or ear infections
- Baby or child often pulling at ears
- Not responding when being called or spoken to, or not hearing when you call them from another room
- Having to get your child’s attention before asking them a question
- Your child asks for things to be repeated or mishears what is being said
- Not hearing what is going on if there is background noise
- Sitting very close to the TV, or wanting the volume on the TV louder than other family members
- Nursey or school have mentioned your child may not be hearing well
- Delayed speech, language, and communication development
- Difficulties with reading and learning
- Changes in behaviour, such as your child becoming withdrawn and frustrated
If you feel these factors may affect your child, we recommend obtaining a referral to have your child’s hearing assessed.
Hearing Aid Repairs
If your hearing aid is not working, before contacting the department please try the following first:
- Try a new battery
- Check the mould and tube are not blocked, with fluid or wax.
- Put the hearing aid in your ‘dry box’ over night
If there are still problems with the hearing aid please contact the department to arrange an appointment or drop the hearing aid off to be repaired. If you have any questions please call or email us.
Your child will need to attend regularly for earmould impressions. How often you will need to attend depends on your child’s age. For example, young babies may need to attend as often as every 2 weeks, whereas a 3 year old might only need new moulds every 4-6 months.
New earmoulds are required for the following reasons:
- Feedback or whistling from the hearing aid
- Loose fitting moulds
- Damaged or split moulds
- Hygiene reasons
To arrange for new earmoulds to be made, please contact the department.
New earmoulds can be fitted during an appointment, they can be collected from Audiology reception, or they can be posted to an address of your choice.
Earmoulds are available in a choice of colours and designs, which can be discussed at the time of taking impressions. Please note that the choice of earmould options sometimes depends on the type of your child’s hearing loss.
Batteries are provided free of charge, and are available from our department or main reception at the following outreach clinics. They can also be requested by post (by sending us your old batteries, your record book and a stamped, self-addressed envelope):
- Nene Park Outpatients clinic - 8.00am-5.30pm
- Corby Diagnostic Centre - 10.00am-4.30pm
- Isebrook Hospital - 8.30am-4.30pm
What is glue ear?
The middle ear (the part behind the eardrum) is usually filled with air. However, when the middle ear becomes congested, the middle ear then becomes filled with fluid; and sound will not be able to easily travel through this fluid; resulting in hearing difficulty.
How common is it?
It is common. About 8 out of 10 children will experience glue ear before the age of 10. One in five pre-school children will have glue ear at any one time.
What causes glue ear?
- Colds/ flu
- Passive smoking
- Children with Cleft palate or Down’s Syndrome are more likely to get glue ear
- Glue ear is often linked with ear infections (but not always)
What treatment is available?
Glue ear is usually temporary congestion that will clear in 6-8 weeks, and is often worse in the winter months. It can fluctuate.
- See your GP, who should be able to tell whether your child has glue ear. Because most cases of glue ear clear up within three months, the GP will often monitor the glue ear. If your child’s ears are painful, they can also recommend pain relief. If the glue ear does not clear up, your GP can refer your child to the Audiology and/or Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) departments.
- Grommets: these are very small plastic tubes that are inserted into the eardrum under a general anaesthetic. These grommets allow air to move in the middle ear and stop more fluid from building up. Grommets usually fall out by themselves, as the eardrum heals and pushes them out. It is possible for the fluid to return after this has happened.
- Otovent: This is a balloon with a nosepiece that is put against one nostril, keeping the other nostril and mouth closed. The child then blows into the balloon through their nose. This creates pressure which opens the eustachian tube which lets fluid drain.
- Hearing aids: These make sounds louder and can be used when hearing is affected for long periods of time.
Tips for helping your child with glue ear hear more easily
- Get your child’s attention and ensure you have face to face conversations
- Give clear and simple instructions
- Reduce the background noise as much as possible and spend quiet time with the child, using this time to talk and play
- Do not shout at your child; rather move closer to them and speak clearly
- Inform other caregivers like your child’s school that their hearing may be down
- Ask that your child closer to the teacher in the classroom
NHS Hearing tests for children: The importance and types of hearing tests for children available in the NHS
Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID): A UK charity for people with hearing loss and tinnitus, aiming at campaigning, providing information and support, and conducting research.
National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS): For parents | For children and young people - A charity aimed at providing support for children and young people with hearing loss, their families and professionals by raising awareness and campaigning for deaf children’s rights.
Northamptonshire County Council - Children, Families and Education
Courses offered by the NDCS:
DeafConnect: A charity in Northamptonshire supporting and providing guidance to hard of hearing people across Northamptonshire.
DeafHubCIC: Provides services within Northamptonshire to ensure the Deaf Community have the same opportunities tat are available to their hearing peers.
Connevans: A company specialising in products and equipment for people with hearing loss.
C2Hear: Videos developed by Nottingham University providing information about hearing loss, hearing aids and communication.
Sensory Impairment Service (SIS): This service provides specialist teachers and support for children with a hearing impairment, a visual impairment or multi-sensory impairments.
Information, Advice, Support Service (IASS) for SEND: Provides advice, guidance and support to parents of children, as well as children and young people with special educational needs within Northamptonshire.
Special Needs Index (SNIX): An electronic database of information about young people aged 0-25 who have a learning or physical disability or sensory impairment and who live in Northamptonshire, which helps plan services for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
SEND Support Service: Offers advice and support to children, young people, families, carers and a range of educational establishments for children with a wide range of special educational needs and /or autism, aged 0-19 years in Northamptonshire.
Young Northants: Northamptonshire County Council. Services for children and young people (aged 0-25) with special educational needs and disabilities
Northants Parents Forum Group: Independent parent-led group to represent the views of families of children and young people with special education needs and/or disabilities in Northamptonshire.