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HealthInfo Canterbury

Hearing in children

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As well as the newborn hearing screening test, all children should be offered a free hearing check when they are 4 years old, as part of their B4 School check. This screen picks up most hearing problems. If your child does have a hearing problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development. There are no more routine hearing screening tests after the B4 School check.

If the B4 school check indicates there may be a hearing problem, the technician will recommend what you should do next. They may suggest you see your GP, or refer you to an audiologist (a healthcare professional who specialises in hearing). You can find out more information about a full assessment after a B4 School hearing test.

This brochure is also available in Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Hindi.

If your child has difficulties with learning or speech, they may have a hearing problem. If you are worried about your child's hearing at any time, take your child to your GP. If you need to find a GP, you can use this link.

Your GP can refer your child to a hospital audiologist for a free hearing test.

You may prefer to pay a private audiologist. You can search for one on Healthpages or through the New Zealand Audiological Society. Not all private audiologist check children, so make sure you ask if they do.

Hearing tests

Children over 5 years old can have the same hearing tests as an adult, called an audiogram. Children over 2.5 years old can have a hearing test involving play. Children under 2.5 will need special hearing tests, which check that the child is turning towards sounds. For children under 6 months see Newborn hearing screening tests.

A tympanogram records how well the eardrum moves in response to a small change in air pressure. This is helpful to diagnose problems with the middle ear such as glue ear, as glue ear can cause temporary hearing loss.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Information about hearing and hearing tests

Support services for people with hearing loss

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created December 2015.

See also:

Auditory processing disorder

Child development and growth

Hearing loss

Hearing screening for newborns


Page reference: 151792

Review key: HIHVC-27167