Paediatric Audiology: (Children's Hearing)

The Paediatric Audiology (Children's Hearing) service is based in the Furze building at Hillingdon Hospital. This service is for all Hillingdon-resident children (newborn to 18 years of age) who need hearing assessment, diagnosis and intervention such as hearing aids.

Failure to detect and treat hearing impairment at an early age may affect a child’s speech and language development, and can result in behavioural problems or learning difficulties.

In case you suspect your child may have a hearing problems ... 
Ask your child's GP/health visitor/school nurse to refer him/her to our Paediatric Audiology Department at the Hillingdon Hospital. Referral letters can be emailed to us to expedite your appointment.

GP referral form

GPs and referrers can download a one-page referral form by clicking this link (569Kb, Word)

Assessment

Little girl looking at screen during hearing test

When your child comes to our clinic for their first assessment the audiologists will carry out a range of tests. Some of these tests will depend on your child’s age and their development. The audiologists may not obtain all the information in one appointment, therefore several appointments may be needed. Most of the tests carried out will rely on your child co-operating for the tests. Below is a list of all the tests available in the Children’s Hearing Clinic (N.B Not all tests will be carried out at your child’s appointment).

Objective tests »


Objective tests are tests carried out during the appointment which does not require your child to do anything but co-operate with testing.

Otoscopy

During the appointment the audiologist will look in your child’s ear with an otoscope (an instrument with a light attached to it, similar to a small torch).

Tympanometry

This is not a hearing test but a test to measure the middle ear and the movement of the ear drum. It is a test which can assess, for example, whether your child has middle ear congestion (glue ear), occlusion due to earwax, or a perforated ear drum.

Oto-acoustic Emissions

This test can be carried out on children of all ages. A probe is placed in your child’s ear for up to two minutes and it measures how well the cochlea (organ of hearing) is working. This test requires your child to be quiet and relaxed.

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

This test is usually carried out on newborns but can also be carried out on older children if necessary. This test requires your child to be asleep and it assess how the brain responds to sounds. Four electrodes (small sticky pads) will be places around your child’s head and sounds will be presented through headphones/insert earphones. The audiologist will then be able to check how well your child is hearing by recording the results on the computer.


Subjective tests »


Subjective tests are tests carried out which rely on your child's ability to carry out a certain action or complete a task during the hearing test.

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry

This is a behavioural hearing test which is typically carried out on children aged from six-seven months to two or two-and-a-half years developmental age. It involves your child sitting on your lap - or on their own chair - opposite an Audiologist (or an Assistant Audiologist) who will engage with your child by playing with toys. Sounds will then be presented in the room or through headphones and your child will be taught to turn to sounds by rewarding them with a toy puppet or a picture on the television screen.

Performance Audiometry/Play Audiometry

This is a behavioural hearing test which is carried out on children aged from two to five years of age and works on the basis of your child being able to follow simple instructions. Your child will be shown to carry out a repetitive task; for example putting a man in the boat every time a sound is heard. This test can be carried out using a speaker (testing overall hearing-both ears working together) and also with headphones to obtained ear specific hearing levels.

Pure tone audiometry

Pure tone audiometry is carried out on children from five years and up. This is also the same test carried out on adults. Your child will be given a button to press every time they hear a sound. The sounds are presented through headphones/insert earphones and cover a range of frequencies from low to high.

Speech tests

There are a range of speech tests which may be carried out depending on your child’s age. The aim of speech tests is to assess at what level your child is able to hear speech sounds/words. The test may be carried out using the audiologist’s voice, a speaker, or headphones.


How to get to your appointment? »


A referral letter is required by a doctor or health professional (eg. your GP, Health Visitor, Paediatrician, Speech and Language Therapist, School Nurse/Health Care Assistant). Once we receive the referral letter, your child is added to our new patient waiting list and an appointment is booked within six weeks of the date we receive it.

You will normally receive the appointment letter by post with a map of our department location, and any other relevant information. We send a reminder text message to all up and coming appointments to the contact mobile numbers we are given on the referral letter to remind parents/ guardian/carer of the date of the appointment. When you attend your child’s appointment please make sure your most up to date contact details and mobile number are available to us for future communication.


Travelling to the appointment »


There are limited parking spaces in our main car park and Maternity car parks, therefore please allow enough time to arrive for your appointment promptly. Both car parks are ‘pay-on-foot’ (barrier) parking. The nearest to our department (The Furze building) is the Maternity car park. There is another car park at the back of the main hospital which operates a ‘pay-and-display’ system.

Before your appointment »


Please try to bring with you only the child the appointment has been made for, as our policy states that all children under 18 must stay with their parents/guardian/carer at all times. This means that any children who accompany you to this appointment will have to join you in the test room. This can interfere significantly with the tests performed on your child,because hearing is tested in very quiet conditions.

What to expect at your appointment »

At the first appointment an Audiologist will take a detailed history of your child’s development and ask of any concerns you may have. It may be useful to bring along the child’s Personal Child Health Record (PCHR) book which is the little red book which was given after your child’s birth.

There are a number of tests that can be used to find out about your child’s hearing. The kind of tests we do will depend on your child’s age and development stage. Children below the age of two years are usually seen by two clinicians. Often we may use headphones or inserts (sponge ear tips) to find out how your child is hearing in each ear individually. It can be helpful if you practice using headphones with your child at home before your appointment with us.

Please bear in mind it may also not always be possible to attain all the information we need in one appointment. After all tests are completed the clinician will explain the assessment results and, with your consent, we will send a copy of the assessment report to your home address, your GP and to other relevant healthcare professionals involved in your child’s care.


After your appointment »


Depending on the hearing assessment outcome, if your child requires to be seen again by us, they will be added to the follow-up waiting list to be seen in a specific number of weeks where an appointment will be made nearer to the time and an appointment letter will also be sent to the child’s home address.

Services »


We offer two types of services: Diagnostic and Rehabilitative. Diagnostic services refer to appointments that are used to investigate a child's hearing. The assessment process (a range of different tests) is used to establish a child's level of hearing. When a hearing problem is identified, it is through the diagnostic procedure that we can identify the severity and nature of the hearing impairment.

Rehabilitative services refer to any appointment after a hearing problem has been identified. We will adopt a management plan specific for your child and this may include the provision of hearing aids and referral to other services or health professionals with parental consent. Please note that the appointment will take approximately 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the type of appointment.


Opening hours »


We are open Monday-Friday, 8.30am-4.30pm (office) but our clinics run until 6pm on specific days. For general enquiries please call 01895 279820.

Patient feedback »


We would like to know what we do well and what we can do better. After the appointment you can complete one of the feedback forms in the department or, if you prefer, you can download and complete the feedback form online by clicking the link here (1.56Mb, Word), and email it to us at:
thh-tr.hillingdonpaediatricaudiology@nhs.net

Alternatively you can print the completed form and post it to our address:

Paediatric Audiology
Children's Hearing Centre,
The Furze,
Hillingdon Hospital,
Pield Heath Road,
UB8 3NN



little girl having a hearing test

The Furze
Hillingdon Hospital
Tel: 01895 279820

We are open Monday-Friday, 8.30am-4.30pm (office) but our clinics run until 6pm on specific days. For general enquiries please call 01895 279820.

The Furze Building is accessible via Entrance B and is situated next to the Maternity building. Online map