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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Hearing loss in children

Ngaronga rongonga ki ngā tamariki

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As a parent, you are the person most likely to notice if your tamaiti (child) does not hear well. The sooner you discover this, the sooner your tamaiti can get more tests and treatment if needed.

The checklists on this page will guide you on how to check how well your tamaiti hears at different ages. To see the lists, scroll down the page and open the How do I test my child's hearing block.

Your newborn pēpi (baby) will be offered free hearing screening tests to check that they can hear well. This will usually be done before you go home from hospital after giving birth. If this does not happen, you will need an appointment for an outpatient test. This should be done before your pēpi is four weeks old.

Your tamaiti will also have a free hearing check when they are 4 years old as part of their B4 School check. If this check shows there might be a hearing problem, the technician will recommend what you should do next. They may suggest you see your general practice team or refer you to an audiologist. An audiologist is 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, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Hindi.

Hearing tests

Tamariki (children) over 5 years old can have the same hearing test as an adult, called an audiogram. Tamariki over 2½ years old can have a hearing test involving play. Tamariki under 2½ need special hearing tests, which check that the tamaiti is turning towards sounds. For tamariki under 6 months, see the Manatū Hauora – Ministry of Health newborn hearing screening links below.

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. These can include glue ear, as glue ear can cause temporary hearing loss.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2023.

See also:

Auditory processing disorder

Child development and growth

Hearing loss in adults


Page reference: 151792

Review key: HIHVC-27167