Pediatric Hearing Service

Pediatric Hearing Loss

Around 1 to 3 per 1000 babies screened were identified with a detectable level of hearing loss. In childhood, our sense of hearing plays a crucial role in providing the basis for speech and communication skills. Children are in a critical period of language development from birth to 6 years old. Untreated pediatric hearing loss can lead to speech and language delays. Early diagnosis and intervention can reduce the impact that hearing loss has on your child.

Hearing Development

  • By 24 weeks of pregnancy, babies are sensitive to sounds
  • Around 3 months of age, babies begin to produce cooing sounds
  • At 6 months of age, babies can babble
  • At 12 months of age, babies can imitate familiar sounds
  • By the age of one, babies can understand simple vocabularies, e.g. “mama” and “ball”

Babies start to understand speech before they begin to speak. Our sense of hearing provides the basis for speech and communication skills. Only through hearing and imitating speech can children learn to speak. Undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss can have a negative impact on children’s developments.

Impacts of Delayed Intervention

Hearing ability helps a child to develop speech and language. Children learn to talk and understand by listening to the others. A child with hearing loss experiences greater difficulties in perceiving sounds. Delayed intervention can cause the following problems:

  1. Delayed speech and language development: Children with hearing loss often cannot hear soft sounds, including daily conversations, and thus the natural acquisition of communication skills is hampered by their hearing impairments
  2. Poorer school performance: A child may miss half of the lesson with both ears experiencing mild hearing impairment. Hearing impaired children experience greater difficulties perceiving speech in noisy environments. Therefore, their learning progress may be badly influenced.
  3. Social and psychological effect: Communication fosters social interaction. Communication difficulties caused by hearing loss may result in feelings of anger, stress and loneliness

Signs of Hearing Loss in Children

Although the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong routinely performs newborn hearing screening on infants, a child can develop hearing loss later in life. It is important for your child to receive regular hearing checks. In order not to slow down your child’s future development, you must pay attention to child’s hearing ability and condition. It is possible that your child is with hearing loss if he/ she shows below signs. If so, you may need to arrange appropriate hearing assessment as soon as possible:

Signs of hearing loss among babies and infants (0 to 2 years old)

  • Does not startle at loud sounds
  • Unable to locate sound source after receiving
  • Unable to mimic noise
  • Does not say single words such as “mama” or “dada” by 1 year of age

Signs of hearing loss in toddlers and children (age 2-5 and above)

  • With delayed speech
  • Usually asks for repetition
  • With unclear speech
  • Usually turns up sound on TV
  • Complains on earache or ringing in ears
  • Speaks loudly
If you see any of the signs and symptoms of hearing loss in your child, schedule for a hearing assessment as soon as possible. In response to the needs of pediatric hearing assessment and comprehensive follow-up services, OPTICAL 88 Hearing Care Centre has equipped with professional hearing equipment and specially designed test settings for the Pediatric Hearing Service. Our comprehensive pediatric services include:

Pediatric Hearing Assessments

  • Otoscopic Examination
  • Tympanometry
  • Acoustic Reflexes Thresholds
  • Otoacoustic Emissions

Age-specific Audiological Assessment

  • Distraction Test(6 months of age to 1 year old)
Sounds will be produced out of infant’s visual view to assess the ability of the infant to hear a sound and turn to locate it. It helps to establish the minimum response level which the infant could hear.
  • Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (9 months of age to 2 years old)
The child will be taught to link the sound to a visual reward. Once the child could associate the sound and the visual reward, sounds of different frequency and intensity will be tested to determine the hearing levels of the child.
  • Conditioned Play Audiometry (2 to 5 years old)
The child will be shown to perform a repetitive play task such as placing a toy in a bucket when a sound is heard. The pitch and the loudness of the sound will be varied to determine the child’s hearing thresholds.
  • Standard Pure Tone Audiometry (5 years old and above)
  • The child will be instructed to press onto a response button in response to a sound stimulus through headphones or insert phones, and a small vibrating device placed behind the ear.
Via above hearing assessment, hearing loss could be  diagnosed. If hearing aid is needed, our audiologist will guide you in selecting the right hearing aids for child. In response to the needs of hearing loss child, OPTICAL 88 has specially designed a Pediatric Hearing Aid Fitting Program for children in need. If you are interested in our Pediatric Hearing Service, please click for the appointment or call us to schedule Pediatric Hearing Service. Only after the assessment can audiologist identify if children need help from hearing aids.