Children's Hearing

Children's Hearing

We have extensive experience in finding the finest solutions to suit a wide range
of children's hearing loss.

As a parent your involvement is paramount and together we make sure that your child
can enjoy the world of sound in a relaxed and friendly environment.

What causes hearing loss?

There are many causes of hearing loss.

Some are due to mechanical dysfunction known as a conductive loss whilst others are the result of a nerve or Cochlea dysfunction known as a sensorineural loss. A smaller number of hearing losses can be due to a mixture of both.

Other rarer hearing conditions, associated with the neural pathways at higher levels, or cognitively, can also result in hearing disorders.

The origins and causes of hearing loss are many, the most common being genetic, viral and anoxia. Sometimes the cause is never definitively established, which can lead to lack of acceptance in the hope that there is a cure. However this should never delay early intervention.

How do you test children for loss?

The facilities required to test hearing need to be specifically designed and supported by medical experts in the field. The environment, equipment and Hearing Aid Audiologist skills are essential to the process of making children feel at ease whilst accommodating the different abilities within paediatric development.

What are the effects of hearing loss?

The earlier hearing loss occurs in a child's life the more serious the effects are on a child's development. Therefore, the earlier the problem is identified and intervention is made with hearing aids, the less serious the impact will be. There are six major ways in which hearing loss affects children. These are:

  1. A delayed and more limited vocabulary.
  2. The poor development of sentence structure and misunderstanding.
  3. Certain speech sounds are not heard and therefore not reproduced, such as "s", "sh", "f", "t",
    and "k". Thus, speech may be difficult to understand.
  4. All areas of education are affected especially in reading and mathematical concepts.
  5. Impaired and underdeveloped social functioning which causes frustration, unhappiness
    and social isolation.
  6. The loss of spatial awareness, localization and environmental sounds.

A pronounced delay in the development of speech and language causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement. Communication difficulties can often lead to social isolation and poor self-confidence. These may all have an impact on a child's vocational choices later in life.

Is there a choice of treatments?

At the consultation with your physician or surgeon, the options for treatment will be discussed. Surgery is generally the choice for conductive hearing impairment, but not exclusively. Hearing aids are the only option for sensorineural loss. It is important to fully understand and have confidence in the recommended treatment.

What styles and types of hearing aid are there?

The style and type of hearing aid depends upon a number of factors such as: degree of hearing loss, type of hearing loss, educational needs, age of child and other special need requirements. These are identified by the Audiologist.

In general, Canal or in the ear instruments are not normally recommended unless there are exceptional medical circumstances. Our Paediatric Hearing Aid Audiologist will evaluate your child and suggest the most appropriate audiological intervention system to assist your child. These generally comprise of behind the ear instruments from miniature to standard size, sometimes in conjunction with additional wireless personal communication aids. The latter are especially beneficial in classroom or similar use.

How can we verify the effectiveness of hearing aid?

The Hearing Aid Audiologist, in conjunction with other professionals, will provide a treatment plan. This will include regular reviews to monitor and make any adjustments to ensure hearing aids are aligned to the degrees and types of speech and to the educational requirements of the child. (Often necessary in very young children).

In order to receive the maximum benefits of Audiological testing it is paramount to have good communication set up between parents and schools as they will be involved in completing assessments, questionnaires and providing essential reporting and feed back.

What if hearing aids are insufficient?

Hearing aids can restore the communication link but do not restore hearing to normal. For the more profound hearing loss a child may benefit from a Cochlear implant. We work closely with Cochlear implant programmes, but it is a part of conventional medical practice to assess a child using hearing aids for at least 6 months prior to consideration for assessment of Cochlea implantation.

Can I share management?

We offer a system of shared or top up management for parents of children diagnosed and medically managed by the NHS but want to obtain hearing aid management privately. This is not a problem. We have long standing experience of providing shared management and working closely with the NHS and NHS Professionals. For more information please contact us and speak to our Hearing Aid Audiologist or practice manager.

Please note: In the UK you are not required to be referred to us by a specialist. We are required, however, to ensure you have been fully assessed by a doctor or physician, who has provided a diagnosis and supports hearing aids as a part of any rehabilitative approach. We will always request that you consult with a nominated medical professional regarding your child.