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HealthInfo Aoraki-South Canterbury

Hearing loss in children

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

These checklists will guide you on how to check how well your child is hearing at different ages.

Your child will also have a free hearing check when they are 4 years old, as part of their B4 School check. If this check does show there might 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, Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Hindi.

Hearing tests

Children over 5 years old can have the same hearing tests as an adult, called an audiogram. Children over 2 and a half years old can have a hearing test involving play. Children under 2 and a half 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.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2020.

See also:

Auditory processing disorder

Child development and growth

Hearing loss

Hearing screening for newborns


Page reference: 151792

Review key: HIHVC-27167