Audiology - Paediatric (children's hearing): Rehabilitation

Once a hearing impairment has been identified, the appropriate treatment pathway will be implemented. It may be that you and the audiologist decided to adopt a 'watchful wait approach' where we monitor your child's hearing closely. Alternatively, it may be that we need to refer your child to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist for a medical opinion. We may also suggest that your child try a hearing aid(s) if the case history and hearing test indicates this to be appropriate. None of these approaches are exclusive.

When we diagnose a long term hearing loss we sometimes need to refer the child further to a number of other services, for example to a paediatrician, to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, and/or to the Hearing Impairment Specialist Team.

Types of hearing loss

Most of the children that we diagnose have a conductive hearing loss and only a small proportion will have a sensorineural hearing loss. A conductive hearing loss happens when sound cannot pass efficiently through the outer and middle ear to the cochlea and auditory nerve. Conductive hearing loss is usually temporary.

The most common reason for conductive hearing loss in children is glue ear and/or wax deeply impacted in the ear canal. Glue ear is a build-up of fluid inside the middle ear that makes it harder for sounds to pass through to the inner ear, therefore resulting in a hearing loss. Glue ear is usually temporary and often clears up on its own without any intervention. However, for some children glue ear can persist longer term.

NHS Choices Glue Ear page

sensorineural hearing loss (or nerve deafness) happens when there is a fault in the inner ear (because the outer hair cells in the cochlea are not working properly) or the auditory (hearing nerve) are not sending the correct signal to the brainstem. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent.

Shortly after the diagnosis of a sensorineural hearing loss you will be contacted by your child’s Hearing Impairment Specialist Teacher, who will work together with the audiologist to help promote speech and language development, assist with communication and provide strategies that can help your child at home and at school. Technology and adaptations are available to make listening easier for your child. Please ask your child's audiologist or follow the link below for more information.

Hearing Aid Fitting

Bone conduction hearing aid

The photo above shows a bone conduction hearing aid on a patient.

The paediatric audiology service offers a range of digital hearing aids. When issued they will be individually verified to your child’s specific hearing loss. Hearing aid colour chart. The hearing aids are available in a variety of colours and children are able to choose their preference.

Phonak hearing aid colour chart

What happens at a hearing aid fitting appointment?

Following on from a child’s hearing assessment a trial of hearing aid(s) may be suggested by the Audiologist. There are two parts to a hearing aid: the hearing aid which sits at the back of the ear and a custom-made ear mould which sits in the ear. The appointment for fitting of a hearing aid will have been made after discussion around the need for amplification. Once consent has been obtained we will need to take an ear mould impression of the child’s ear for the ear mould.

Occasionally, if appropriate, older children (12 years +) may be fitted with a hearing aid that consists of a smaller ear dome and thin tube that fits into the ear. We also provide in the ear (ITE) hearing aids However, it is important to note that the selection of hearing aids is dependent upon the child’s age and individual hearing level.

For more information regarding managing the hearing aid, please follow the link below: National Deaf Children's Society - family support.

Access guide for the Children's Hearing Department

With AccessAble, we have developed access guides to our hospitals, including photos, maps, and signposting, to help you get around and plan your journey.

Access guide to children's hearing department