Our Paediatric Audiology Services
InHealth offers free NHS hearing tests for children in and around the Southampton area; Babies who fail their Newborn Screening test will be referred to our service for Diagnostic testing and we also complete hearing checks from 8 months up to 16 years and up to 19 years for children with additional needs.
If you are concerned about your child’s hearing, speech and language development, or you would like to have your child’s hearing assessed due to a family history of hearing loss we are here to help.
Please check if you live within our catchment area by putting the postcode of your General Practitioner (GP) into MAPIT. If the results show NHS Southampton CCG or NHS West Hampshire CCG then we can assess your child’s hearing; if it does not please speak to your GP or Health Visitor, and they will refer you to the appropriate Audiology Department.
We look forward to welcoming you at one of our three sites very soon. If you have an appointment with us, please click here for a child-friendly explanation of what will happen during your visit.
Our Criteria for Self-Referral
- Your child must be aged over 8 months and up to 16 years
- For children with additional needs we review up to 19 years
- GP must be within Southampton or West Hampshire NHS CCG
If you do not have access to a computer and would like a referral to our service, you can contact your;
- General Practitioner (GP)
- Health Visitor (HV)
- School Nurse (SN)
- Community Nursery Nurse
- Speech and Language Therapist
- Social Worker
They will be able to make the referral on your behalf.
Our Services Include
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
All babies born in the United Kingdom ideally have a Newborn Hearing Screen performed in the Maternity Unit or at home 0-4 weeks after birth.
If your child doesn’t pass their hearing screen then they are referred to us via the Newborn Hearing Screening team for a diagnostic Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR).
What happens in an ABR appointment?
The ABR sends sounds to the Cochlea (Inner ear) through the auditory nerve to the brain and the sounds are then presented to the Clinical Scientist as waveforms on a screen and these are measured following the guidance set by the British Academy of Audiology (BAA). They are looking for the quietest levels of sound being detected by the hearing nerve of each ear. This is recorded by placing three sensory pads on the skin and insert tips in each ear.
This objective test is performed because we are trying to diagnose babies with hearing loss as soon as possible. Research has shown that earlier diagnosis of hearing impairment gives babies a better chance of developing speech and language alongside other communication skills.
Where is it done?
We assess babies hearing at our Pickles Coppice Childrens Centre from 0-3 months. They need to be asleep for the test to be performed and it is carried out in our sound-proof paediatric booth.
We do not accept referrals from anyone else for this test to be performed. If your baby has not had a Newborn Hearing Screen performed and they are under the age of two months, please click here.
If you are unsure if your child has had their hearing screen performed then you can look in their red book under the ‘screening and routine reviews section’ page 27 and where it should be documented, otherwise speak to your child’s Health Visitor.
You can also refer to your red book page 26 ‘Can your baby hear?’ or look at this page which gives you an idea of the sounds your baby should be responding to at different stages.
Our Paediatric Audiology team complete a range of hearing tests for children over the age of 8 months depending on your child’s age and development.
Visual reinforcement audiometry (6 months - 2 and a half years)
Different Sounds are presented from our audiometer through speakers at the side of the room. Your child is conditioned by the Audiology team to turn their head to the sound and as a result, receive a reward. This test generally assesses overall hearing to ensure it is adequate for your child to access all their speech sounds for language development, however ear specific testing can be done if there is a clinical need.
Performance testing (18 months – 3 years)
Sounds are presented from our hand-held audiometer and the child is conditioned to put an object into something when they have heard a sound. Different frequencies and levels of sound are presented to the child. This test generally assesses overall hearing to ensure it is adequate for your child to access all their speech sounds for language development.
Play Audiometry (3 years+)
Different Sounds at various frequencies are presented from our audiometer into headphones that your child wears. The child waits and listens for a sound to be presented. The Clinical Scientist / Audiologist play several different games and the child must perform an action when they have heard the sound. The complexity of the test is modified depending on the age or development of the child.
This test assesses both ears individually.
Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA)
Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA)
Different Sounds at six frequencies from 250hz to 8khz are tested in each ear through headphones that your child wears. The child waits and listens for a sound to be presented and they press a button when they have heard the sound. The levels of the sounds are reduced until the child stops responding this is known as their threshold of hearing. This test assesses both ears individually. The results of this are plotted on a graph called an Audiogram.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
This is an objective test that is often used on babies but can also give us an indication of cochlear function. A sound is presented into the ear via a probe tip. The sound passes through the eardrum and middle ear and into the inner ear known as the Cochlea. This stimulates the hair cells in our inner ear and the response generated by them produces an echo and this is then recorded.
The result from this test gives us an indication if there has been any damage caused to the organ of hearing as this can significantly reduce hearing thresholds.
Measures the stiffness of the ear drum by applying pressure to the ear canal and will assess the compliance of the middle ear. This test indicates whether you have a very common condition known as glue ear.
Speech Discrimination tests
These are performed to assess the quietest level at which the child can correctly identify the words. The words will be presented at different listening levels. The tester will ask the child to identify the toys or pictures or to repeat what they have heard.
What Happens Next
Your child’s hearing test results will be discussed with you on the day of the appointment:
If your child’s hearing is found to be satisfactory they will be discharged from the service. If concerns arise again you can use our self-referral form or contact us on 0333 202 1065.
If your child requires a speech and language referral, we ask that parents or guardians use the self-referral telephone number 0300 300 2019 or email SNHS.SolentChildrensTherapyService@nhs.net and you will receive a referral form in the post. This can be accessed via Southampton Directory | Solent NHS Children’s Therapy Service.
If your child is found to have reduced hearing and the clinician thinks they would benefit from the option of hearing aids a referral will be made to the Royal South Hants Audiology department.
If your child is found to have persistent glue ear / Otitis Media with effusion and a hearing loss a referral will be made to the Ear Nose and Throat Department at the Royal South Hants Hospital.
If hearing is found to be reduced as your child has glue ear a further appointment will be arranged with you in a few months’ time. During your appointment, the clinician may have asked you to get your child to use the Otovent and encourage nose blowing. Please read information from Otovent or from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
For further queries with regards to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines about the management of glue ear / Otitis Media with Effusion please click here.
Understanding The Ear
Using the Otovent
Our Paediatric Audiology Team
Paediatric Team Lead
Paediatric Admin Lead