All children born in Australia are required to undertake a comprehensive hearing assessment within the first few weeks of birth (eg NSW has the SWISH [State Wide Infant Screening Hearing] Program) which allows for the early identification of any congenital hearing difficulties and encourages prompt intervention for these children. Some children may be more likely to experience hearing loss, especially those:
Even if children passes this newborn test, they can still develop hearing problems throughout childhood. There are multiple causes of hearing loss in children, many of which can be corrected through medical intervention (eg wax or fluid buildup). Some signs of hearing difficulties to be aware of may include:
It is recommended that children have their hearing tested regularly during childhood and throughout their schooling life (with some schools even requiring a base-line test to be completed before a child can start kindergarten). Rates of hearing loss for school-aged children in Australia have been found to be between 3.4% and 12.8% (1) where even a mild undiagnosed hearing impairment can significantly influence their academic outcomes (and employment prospects) as well as their ability to develop language, speech, emotional and social connections.
If you are in any way concerned with your child’s hearing ability, further investigation may be warranted. Feel free to contact the clinic to arrange a full pediatric hearing assessment with one of our qualified audiologists.
(1) Choi, S.M.R., Kei, J., & Wilson, W.J. (2016). Rates of Hearing Loss in Primary School Children in Australia: A Systematic Review. Speech, Language and Hearing. doi: 10.1080/2050571X. 2016. 1259199