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Children’s hearing plays a critical part of a child’s development. Hearing problems can lead to delays with speech and language development, problems at school and developing social skills.
How we help
Our specialist team provides hearing assessment and therapy for very young children, children with multiple disabilities, children at an increased risk of permanent hearing problems and children diagnosed with permanent hearing loss.
We work closely with other professionals to best support you and your child. Our hearing therapists provide extra support, communication plans, equipment advice and tinnitus retraining to children and co-ordinate our young adult’s move to adult services.
What happens at your appointment
Usually two specialist children’s audiologists will see your child. Your appointment will last from one to two hours, depending on the age and the type of testing your child needs.
There are several tests we have to assess your child’s hearing. We will decide which test to use, depending on your child’s developmental age and whether they are awake or asleep.
Further information on children’s hearing appointments
Newborn hearing testing appointments
Newborn babies are offered a hearing screen in hospital. For some babies, further screening may be required after this and a referral to our service may be needed for specialist testing including Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing. It is highly recommended hearing is tested in a newborn, so that support and advice can be given right from the start. The testing can take up to 2 hours and will require a baby to be asleep during the test. Find out more about the NHS England Newborn hearing screening.
Hearing assessment appointments
These appointments take place in our new facility in the Royal Alexandra Children’s hospital, or in one of our outreach clinics across the county (Princess Royal Hospital, Mile Oak Medical Centre or County Oak Medical Centre). We offer a variety of tests to gain information regarding a child’s hearing level, following national recommended guidelines. This may include playing listening games, pressing a button or observing responses to sound. We also offer alternative tests that require minimal cooperation from a child, if required.
Hearing aid appointments
The type of hearing aid that will be suitable for a child will depend on the type and level of deafness they have. We fit a range of hearing aid options including digital hearing aids and bone anchored hearing devices. Our holistic approach takes into account clinical, environmental, social and personal elements and we actively encourage parental involvement. Our children’s bone-anchored hearing aid service is specialist within Sussex and we take referrals from all over the county.
We are the specialist centre in our county for balance (vestibular) testing. In our new state of the art testing suite, we are able to offer a child-friendly approach to balance assessments. During balance appointments, we use a variety of tests to assess the function of a child’s balance system. These may include observation of simple activities such as walking, recording of eye movements or by stimulating balance organs using warm and cool air. We take a child-friendly approach to our balance testing and adapt our methods for each individual child.
Where we are
Audiology Department, Level 4,
The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital,
We are also able to offer appointments for children over 6 years old (if deemed appropriate) at the following sites:
- Princess Royal Hospital
- County Oak Medical Centre – bus routes 24, 26, 46, 56; car parking available.
- Mile Oak Medical Centre – bus routes 1, 1A; on-street parking.