The Children's Community Audiology team provide hearing assessments for children and young people from birth to 18 years of age.

A range of hearing tests can be performed depending on the developmental age of the child.

Appointments are performed by Specialist Audiologists, with input from Specialist Community Nursery Nurses and a Community Paediatrician.

The health of the ears can also be assessed by examination and tympanometry, which looks at the functioning of the middle ear.

Appointments last between 30 and 45 minutes. The results of the assessment, along with any further assessments, treatment or onward referral will be explained to parents / carers at the end of the appointment. A summary report will also be sent to relevant involved professionals.

Referral Process

Parents / carers with any concerns regarding their child’s hearing can request a referral to the Children’s Community Audiology team for a hearing assessment via their health professional (G.P., Health Visitor, School Nurse, Speech and Language Therapist, Paediatrician etc...)


Children's Community Audiology Team (East Staffordshire)

Our waiting room is bright and cheerful with toys to play with whilst you wait:

The waiting room at St. Michael's Court, Lichfield

 

Our test room:

The Test Room at St. Michael's Court, Lichfield

 

The team:

Members of the East Team

Children's Community Audiology Team (West Staffordshire)

Our waiting room is bright and cheerful with toys to play with whilst you wait:

The waiting room at The Bridge, Stafford.

 

Our test room:

The test room at The Bridge, Stafford

 

The team:

Members of the West Team


Tests carried out in Children’s Community Audiology

Various tests will be performed depending on your child’s age and ability. We are an autism friendly service and have specialist clinics where we are able to assess children. Most of the tests are based around play. Generally, before testing, we will ask some questions to get some background information about your child’s hearing and development.

 

Visual reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)

VRA is the preferred test for a child between the developmental age of 6-36 months but can be used for older children if felt appropriate. It involves your child either on your lap or sitting on a small chair watching a member of the team playing with a range of toys. Sounds are transmitted from loudspeakers and your child is observed to see if they respond. If they turn to the sound they are “rewarded” by the appearance of a lighted and/or moving toy. The test is then repeated until a full assessment is completed. This assessment does not test each ear individually but can give a good impression of overall hearing levels. If ear specific information is needed the test can be performed using special inserts which are painless sponge like ear phones that sit just inside your child’s ear.

 

Distraction Testing

This type of test can also be used from a developmental age of 6 months and is sometimes used to gain additional information if responses to VRA are not consistent. Your child again sits on your lap or on a small chair. Sounds are introduced using a range of hand held devices. Your child will be distracted by a member of the team to keep their attention while an Audiologist introduces sounds of different frequencies and volumes and monitors your child’s responses.

 

Free field Performance Test

If your child is able to follow instruction (usually around the developmental age of 30 months) they may be asked to complete an action (such as put a toy man in a boat) when they hear a sound. The sounds will again be introduced at different frequencies and different volumes either from a hand held speaker or through loud speakers. As for VRA this gives an assessment of the overall hearing levels.

 

Play / pure tone audiometry

This test (usually from a developmental age of 36 months) involves your child wearing headphones by which sound can be introduced to each ear individually. As part of this test your child will either be asked to press a button to confirm when they hear a sound or may be asked to perform a task with a toy similar to free field performance testing. Sometimes the test is also performed with a special headphone that sits on the bone behind one ear as this can give helpful additional information in some cases.

 

Speech discrimination testing

This range of tests allows the team to gain additional information about how your child uses their hearing and listening skills and can be used from around a developmental age of 24 months. Each test involves your child being asked to listen and identify a range of toys or pictures to determine at what level your child is able to distinguish between similar sounding words. The words are either delivered by the voice of one of the team or an automated voice system may be used.

 

Oto-acoustic Emissions Test (OAE)

Your child is likely to have had a new-born hearing screen which is known as OAE Oto-acoustic Emissions test. This test only takes a few minutes and may be repeated as part of your child’s assessment. A tiny earpiece will be placed in your child’s ear and a quiet test sound will be played through it. If the results are not clear it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a hearing loss. It could be due to background noise or the condition of the ear i.e. fluid or wax. In this case further assessment may be required.

 

Tympanometry

This is a test that shows the amount of movement of the eardrum. A small soft probe is placed into the ear, a sound / puff of air is emitted and the eardrum may or may not respond.  For good hearing the eardrum should be flexible to allow sound to pass. This test doesn’t determine ability to hear but helps the audiology team to establish if there is any fluid in the middle ear.

 

Examination

As part of your child’s assessment the Doctor or Audiologist needs to look into your child’s ear enabling them to check if the eardrum is clear and look for any abnormalities.

 

Children with additional / complex needs

For children with additional needs we can adjust the test procedures to suit your individual child. The hearing test may not be completed in one appointment, often a few visits will be needed to gain a full assessment.

  • Remember you know your child and how they react better than anyone. Your input during the Audiology assessment is extremely valuable to us.
  • Please let us know if there is a better time of day to see your child. We will always do our best to accommodate your requests.
  • If your child has any noisy toys / or other items that they seem to respond to, it would be really useful if you could bring them with you to your appointment.
  • Is there a position that your child is most comfortable in? For example, do they prefer to stay in their pushchair or lie down?

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries, concerns or requests.  We may not be available straight away but will always call you back as soon as possible.

Children’s Community Audiology (East): 01283 505168

Children’s Community Audiology (West): 01785 221664

Children's Community Audiology Contact Details

Children’s Community Audiology (East)
The Coach House
St. Michael’s Court
Trent Valley Road
Lichfield
WS13 6EF

01283 505168

Children’s Community Audiology (West)
The Bridge (off St. George's Parkway)
Crooked Bridge Road
Stafford
ST16 3NE

01785 221664

Get in Contact

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Trust Headquarters, St. George's Hospital, Corporation Street, Stafford ST16 3SR

E-mail: enquiries@mpft.nhs.uk 

Switchboard number

0300 790 7000
(staffed 24 hours a day, every day)

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