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- If you have concerns about your child's hearing at any time, take your child for an assessment (see What are the signs of a hearing problem?)
- Your child should receive a newborn hearing screening test and a hearing test at 4 years old as part of the B4school check
- if your child does have a hearing problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development
Your baby's hearing screening - a Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education pamphlet
Your child's hearing is screened as part of the B4 School Check at around age 4 years. This is usually done by vision and hearing technicians.
The results of this screening will be sent to you in the mail or will come home with your child. The information you receive explains the results of the screening and how you can have your child further assessed if needed.
If your child doesn't have their hearing screened at four, it's important they have this screening done in their first year at school. This screening picks up most hearing problems.
If your child missed their screening, contact your child's school to make sure the vision hearing technician screens your child on their next visit.
· For babies, there is a checklist at the National Screening Unit website - Can your baby hear? (at right).
· If your child has speech or language difficulties, has trouble following instructions, or is easily frustrated or distracted they may have a hearing problem. These symptoms may vary from time to time
· You can arrange for a full hearing assessment for your child at the audiology department of your local hospital.
· If you notice a discharge from your child's ear, you should take them to see your family doctor. Some areas have mobile children's ear clinics which visit schools and early childhood education centres. If your area has a mobile clinic, you could also talk to the ear nurse specialists who staff these. They are specially trained to diagnose, treat, monitor and refer for children with middle ear problems.
A smelly discharge from your child's ear could indicate a serious health problem. You should visit your family doctor immediately if you notice this.
· If your child does have a hearing problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development.
· You will not have to pay to have your child's hearing assessed at the hospital audiology clinic. You may need a referral for your child from your family doctor and there may be a wait before your child is seen. There is likely to be a charge if you visit a local private audiologist.
· Support for children with hearing loss or auditory processing disorders is available free of charge. Hearing aids, cochlear implants and other devices for children are provided free.
Kidshealth fact sheets
NSU (National Screening Unit) www.nsu.govt.nz
Acknowledgements: adapted from Kidshealth factsheets: Hearing and vision checks for babies; Hearing and vision checks for preschool children; Hearing problems in children. The Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation 2005 - 2011