Paediatric Hearing Assessment
Newborn Hearing Screening
All babies in the Manchester area are offered a hearing screen
when they are born. Babies who do not get a clear response during
this screen are seen by our service to find out more about their
hearing. We are able to test for all types of hearing problems in
babies using tests such as auditory brainstem response testing,
otoacoustic emissions and tympanometry. See our Glossary for descriptions of these tests.
Auditory brainstem response testing and otoacoustic emissions
testing require your child to be asleep as the response to be
detected is very small and can be hidden if there is a lot of
If a baby gets a clear response on the hearing screen it means
they are unlikely to have hearing loss. However, a small number of
children can develop or acquire a hearing loss later on in
childhood, so if you or anyone else is concerned about their
hearing, it is important to get it checked.
Paediatric Hearing Assessment Clinics
There are a number of reasons why a child may have been asked to
attend for a hearing test:
- They did not have clear responses in both the right and left
ears on the hearing screen.
- There is concern about their hearing.
- There is concern about their speech and language or general
- Your child needs another hearing test following their hearing
screen at birth.
- Your child may have had many ear infections or colds.
- There may be a family history of hearing problems.
- Your child may have had an illness that can cause hearing
Children of any age are seen for hearing assessment using a wide
variety of techniques including otoacoustic emission testing,
visual reinforcement audiometry, play audiometry, tympanometry and
speech testing. See our Glossary for descriptions of these tests.
How can I get an appointment?
If your baby has been referred from the newborn hearing screen,
you will automatically receive an appointment.
If you have concerns about your child's hearing you can go to
your family doctor or health visitor and ask them to refer your
child for a hearing test.
If you are new to the area and your child has a known hearing
loss and wears hearing aids, you should ask for your family doctor
to refer to us so that we can continue to monitor your child's
hearing and progress with hearing aids.
How long will I have to wait for an appointment?
You will be offered an appointment for your child within six
weeks of us receiving the referral. We aim to find out what
your child can hear as quickly as possible. Often we can do this in
just one appointment but sometimes it takes a number of
appointments before we can get all the information we need.
What will happen when I have my appointment?
At the first appointment we will test your child's hearing. We
will explain the results with you and talk about what they mean for
your child and their development.
If your child has a hearing loss we will talk about the options
that are available and how they can help. We will then agree the
next step with you and set a care plan. This will include your
child's specific needs and what we have agreed to do to address
them. Sometimes we can decide to monitor your child's hearing and
progress. Sometimes we need to do something to help your child hear
better and this can include having a small operation (grommets) or
wearing a hearing aid. We may also talk about using sign language
to help your child communicate. The options available will depend
on your child and the cause of the hearing loss.
You will always receive a letter after
your appointment with us. This summarises what you told us at the
appointment, the test results and what they mean and the plan that
we agreed for you and your child. We copy this letter to your
family doctor, your health visitor or your child's school nurse and
to any other people your child sees.
We offer appointments at both Manchester Royal Infirmary
and Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. If you receive an
appointment from us, it is important to check the appointment
letter for details of where the appointment is.
Can I bring my child's siblings to the appointment?
It is always best to try and make alternative arrangements for
your child's siblings. To test the hearing we need the test
room to be very quiet and to have as few distractions as
possible. If you cannot arrange for anyone to look after your
other children we will try our best to ensure everything runs
What do I do if my child is ill on the day of the
If you child is unwell, please phone the department and let us
know as early as possible. We can then change the date of the
appointment for you.
What if my child has a hearing loss?
If your child has a hearing loss we will discuss the best ways
to help your child with their hearing. We will also carry out
further testing as needed to get as much information as possible
about your child's hearing.