Hearing Tests and Services for Children
We offer expertise in early diagnosis and management of recurrent ear infections, hearing loss and tinnitus for all children (age 3-18 years), hearing aid and cochlear implant services. We also offer a short-summarized version of our popular hearing loss prevention workshop by Dangerous Decibels for families to learn about hearing loss prevention with their children.
We accept walk-ins however if you wish to refer your child to our centre via your child’s general practitioner, school nurse or any other professional who is involved with their car, the referral letters should contain child’s details, nature of the hearing concern with any other relevant details.
Our hearing tests in Singapore are split into screening and diagnostic services:
Most children in Singapore would have had a basic hearing screening done under the within the first few days of birth. However, some children’s hearing loss may be missed or developed much later. This is often due to hereditary genes, infection and environmental noise. A child who has difficulties hearing may not understand that he or she hears differently from everyone else. Mild hearing difficulties can affect a child’s ability to learn, socialise or develop speech.
Hearing screenings should be performed (1) at birth, (2) before start of nursery and (3) annually when the child has entered primary school. If your child attends a school that does not provide annual hearing screening, you can opt for the screening program available at our audiology centre.
Hearing screenings for young children take an average of 20 minutes to complete. However, do set aside 40 minutes for your appointment so that our audiologist may answer all your questions and concerns about your hearing.
For Pre-school Children
(3 – 6 years Old)
- Modified Audiometry
- Otoacoustic emissions (Optional)
- Tympanometry (Optional)
For Primary School Age & Above
(7 years to 18 years Old)
- Pure Tone Audiometry
- Tympanometry (Optional)
For effective treatment of hearing loss, we conduct a series of investigative tests to find out which part of the ear caused the hearing loss. As with adults, we offer the same non-invasive behavioural and physiological tests (For list of diagnostic hearing tests, click here). Additionally, we have modified audiometry tests to cater to the developmental age of the child.
Behavioural Observation Audiometry
Some children may not be able to indicate on their own whenever they hear sounds in a hearing test. In these children, we play a variety of sounds in the clinic and observe for minor responses in the child such as eye movement or changes in facial expression.
Visual Reinforcement Audiometry
This is a common test used for children under the age of 3. We play some sounds and activate a remote-controlled puppet to jiggle whenever the child looks in the direction of the sound source. This reinforces the behaviour of the child to turn his or her head and eyes to search for the puppet whenever the sounds are played.
Conditioned Play Audiometry
The most fun test in our centre, we teach the child to take turns in a board game whenever a sound is made.
McCormick Toy Test
As some children may not be able to repeat back words on a standard speech test, we ask the child to point to toy objects given during the speech test i.e., “point to the duck”.
How can I tell if my child has a hearing loss?
5 out of every 1,000 children between the ages of 3-17 have hearing loss. While most hearing losses in children are detected early, at least 12.5% of children between 6-19 years old acquire hearing loss much later due to noise exposure. Acquired hearing loss can be difficult to identify especially in older children as their speech skills are already developed. Nevertheless, here are some tips for you detect a possible hearing loss in your child:
- Your child does not always respond when you call his or her name
- You start to repeat yourself more often when communicating with your child
- You child listens to the TV or music volume much louder than necessary
- Your child tends to tilt his head towards a particular ear when listening to conversation
- Your child teacher observes that your child is not responding as well as other children in class
- Your child speaks a little louder than usual
- Your child looks at your mouth more intently when you talk, as if to need lip-reading to understand conversation
How can I tell if my child has an ear infection?
The most common and treatable form of hearing loss is children is due to Otitis Media or build-up of fluid behind the eardrum. Everyone can get an ear infection, at least 5 out of 6 children have some form of ear infection before the age of 3. Here are 5 indicators that your child may have a ear infection:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Seems to hear fine at sometimes and not hear other times
- Easily irritable and in a bad mood
- Fluid draining from the ear