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Children’s Hearing Test, West Malling, Kings Hill, Tunbridge Wells and Kent

Kent Hearing is one of the few audiology practices in the mid-Kent area able to diagnose and treat hearing conditions in children. We offer specialist paediatric clinics every week and work alongside ENT surgeons and GP specialists to provide hearing services for children of all ages. We commonly test for glue ear and for hearing loss in children aged 3 and above. In certain situations, we will test children from birth onwards, subject to discussion with parents. We are also able to safely remove impacted earwax from children’s ears, using microsuction.

Our specialist paediatric clinics are run by Dr Priya Carling AuD, RHAD, Ruth Bannister BSc and Danielle Krabbenhoft BA (Hons), who are highly experienced in all aspects of children’s hearing. Sometimes two audiologists may be present at your child’s appointment if younger children are being assessed.

To discuss your child’s hearing and book an appointment, please call us on 01732 525912 

“Dr Priya checked both my boy’s ears (2 and 3.5-year-olds). At this age, an appointment of this nature can be challenging. Dr Priya’s lovely friendly manner put both of them at ease. Thank you again!”
To book an appointment for your child, please call us on 01732 525912 or use the form below.
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When is it a good idea to have your child’s hearing checked?

If you notice any possible signs of hearing loss in your child, it’s important to have it checked as soon as possible. While hearing loss in children is most often caused by a blocked ear, an ear infection or glue ear (see below) and is usually temporary, early diagnosis and treatment can have a huge and positive impact on a child’s development. If left undiagnosed and untreated, hearing loss can severely affect the development of speech, language, social skills and relationships. It can also be a cause of frustration to your child and contribute significantly to behavioural issues both at home and in the classroom.

In some cases hearing loss may be caused by something more serious, so if you notice any symptoms in your child, please consult you GP or book a hearing test with us:

Symptoms of hearing loss include:

  • Not responding when their name is called
  • Delayed language or learning skills
  • Abnormal speech or mumbling
  • Not paying attention to or taking part in conversations
  • Watching television or listening to music at a high volume
  • Complaining of buzzing or other noises that you cannot hear
  • Not being able to hear if there is background noise.

Ear Infections and Glue Ear.

Infections of the middle ear (otitis media) are common in babies and young children and can cause pain and/or temporary mild hearing loss. Other symptoms of ear infections include headache, fever, poor balance or clumsiness and discharge from the ear. Ear infections although often short lived, can cause a build-up of fluid or pus behind the ear drum or in the external ear canal.

Glue ear is also common in younger children and may occur following an ear infection, when the ear fills up with pus which will not drain away because the eustation tube (which runs between the ear and the throat) becomes blocked or inflamed. Symptoms of glue ear include, hearing loss, discharge from the ear if there is a perforation, ear pain, redness or swelling around the ear and ringing or buzzing sounds in the ear. Glue ear may also affect a child’s sleep and concentration. Adults can also get glue ear, but it is most common in infants and children under the age of 6.

Both ear infections and glue ear will often clear up by themselves without the need for treatment, but if symptoms persist for any length of time, please consult your GP or book an appointment with us by calling 01732 525912.

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About your appointment

We will ask you a number of questions about your child and their medical and hearing history when you call to book your appointment.

When you bring your child to Kent Hearing, please ensure that they are well-rested, fed and as are as relaxed as possible. This will help the appointment run smoothly. Testing is conducted in the form of play as much as possible, so that your child is in a comfortable and relaxed environment during their time with us.

Play audiometry, pure tone audiometry, bone conduction testing and tympanometry and visual re-inforcement audiometry or VRA may all be undertaken as part of a child’s hearing test.

Please note that all children must be willing to let us look in their ears. We encourage you to familiarise your child with headphones prior to your appointment, as they may be asked to wear them during testing.

We allow a minimum of 1 hour for all paediatric appointments. We are happy for one or both parents to attend their child’s appointment, but ask that siblings are not present.

Frequently asked questions

What happens after my child’s hearing test?

We will discuss the results of the tests undertaken with you and then agree a treatment plan depending on the results and findings of the tests. If your child’s ears are blocked with earwax, we can remove this using microsuction. We may recommend careful monitoring of your child’s hearing for several weeks, as ear infections and glue ear often clear up by themselves. If we are at all concerned about longer term hearing loss or any other condition we will discuss the possible options with you, including referral to ENT surgeons or other paediatric specialists.

What are grommets and when are they needed?

Grommets are very small plastic tubes that are placed on the eardrum to help drain fluid from the middle ear. This is a surgical procedure and is usually only recommended when glue ear does not clear up after several months and is causing a child severe hearing loss. Your Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon will make this recommendation and perform the surgery if appropriate for your child.

Can my child’s hearing loss be caused by genetics?

Yes, hearing loss can be due to genetic causes, even if there is no family history of hearing loss. In some cases many family members are affected and in others, only one or two.
The CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that genetic causes account for between 50-60% hearing loss in babies.

Did you know?

  • There are 50,000 children with hearing loss in the UK.  Of these, approximately 25,000 children are born with hearing loss and the other half develop hearing loss during their early years
  • 1 in 5 pre-school children may have glue ear at any one time.  On average, 8 out of 10 children will experience glue ear before the age of 10. Glue ear is the most common hearing condition we treat
  • Hearing loss has a huge impact on the speech and language development of children of all ages, particularly during their formative years.  The human brain completes 85% of its physical growth by the age of 3 ½ and therefore these first years of life are critically important to developing spoken language through listening.
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About Kent Hearing

Kent Hearing provides expert hearing care for both adults and children of all ages. Situated in Churchill Square, Kings Hill, we are one the few local audiology practices to provide a full range of paediatric hearing services, including diagnostics and hearing testing, earwax removal using microsuction, hearing aids and custom devices. The practice is run by Dr Priya Carling AuD, RHAD, who was previously Director of Education and a principal investigator at the UCL Ear Institute, and Head of Audiology, Neurophysiology and Speech Therapy at the BUPA Cromwell Hospital, London, and East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust.