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Children's Audiology

About Us

The paediatric audiology service provides hearing assessment and rehabilitation for children of all developmental ages from newborn to school-leaving age.
Patients are referred to the paediatric audiology service for a variety of reasons, including parental/professional concerns about hearing, speech-and language development, social and emotional development, as well as having any risk factors for hearing loss.
Patients are commonly referred to the service by  their GP, Health Visitor, school nurse or other health professional including ENT or Specialist Paediatrician.



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When testing children’s hearing, it is important that an appropriate method is used based on the child’s age, ability and interest, and one that will give the information that is required.

Some tests require children to be alert and co-operative; happy to “play” with the audiologist (behavioural tests). Others require the child to be quiet and still or asleep (objective tests).

Audiologists rely on a combination of different tests to perform a dianoses. Every child is unique and the combination used for every child may therefore differ.

Before we do any tests, we will then ask the carer a few questions about their childs' hearing, health and development before looking in your child's ears.

Some of the tests that we may use include:

 VRA is a hearing test ideally used for children of a developmental level of 7 months to 2 ½ years. Your child will sit on your lap with an audiologist in front of you. When a sound such as a tone at a specific fequency is presented, your child's eye shift of head turn response towards the sound source is rewarded by activation of a lighted mechanical toy near the loudspeaker. Your child's attention is then distracted back to the midline so that additional sounds can be presented.

Any test through loudspeakers rather than earphones is called 'soundfield' audiometry and does not test each ear seperately. If your child will tolerate earphones, we will aim to tests each ear sepearately through using little foam tips that insert into the ear canal.

Visual Reward box
This test is ideal for children between 2 and 5 years old. Your child will be shown how to perform a repetitive play task such as putting a toy man in a toy boat each time he/she hears a sound - either through a speaker or through earphoes/headphones. The results will be plotted on a graph called an audiogram which will show you what your child's hearing is for a range of tones.
Pure-tone audiometry is ideal for children from around 5 years of age and is used for adults too. Your child will press a button to indicate when he/she hears a range of tones. Either headphones or earphones that sit at the entrance of the ear canal will be used. If needed, we will use a bone conducter like the one in the above photo for more comprehensive tests. The results will be plotted on a graph called an audiogram which will show you what your child's hearing is for a range of tones.
Tympanometry is an examination used to test the middle ear function. A probe tip will be placed at the entrance of your child's ear canal which will introduce variations of ear pressure into the ear. The audiologist can use the readings to indicate whether your child has congestion behind the eardrum and whether the ear is ventilated through the Eustachian Tube. This measurement is not a hearing test and should be used in conduction with a hearing test plotted on an audiogram. 
Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are sound echos given off by the inner ear when it is stimulated with a sound. A small probe will be inserted into your child's ear canal to both play a sound into the ear and measure the echo coming out. People with normal or near normal hearing produce emissions. Your baby/child will need to be quite during the test which usually takes no longer than 2 minutes. 

The ABR test measures the brain's activity in response to sound. Three small electrode pads (like a small sticker) will be placed on the child/baby: one on the forehead and one behind each ear. Headphones or insert earphones are placed on or in the baby/child's ears. A series of clicking sounds are then played and a computer records the brain's response.

The baby/child needs to be sleep during this test. If the patient is a baby, we will do this test under natural sleep. If the child is slightly older, we may request that the child be sedated. In the latter case, we will arrange for your child to attend a hospital ward as a day case where a doctor will administer the sedation and your child will be monitored closely throughout the test. Your child should be discharged home on the same day.

There are different types of Speech tests but they generally aim to determine how softly your child is able to hear words. Your child may be asked to 'point' to a toy or repeat a word that has been said to them at different volumes. There are certain speech tests where we can test how well your child hears speech in the presence of background noise. 
Education Tab - Text for testing


Children's Audiology is located at the Children’s outpatients department at the Royal Derby Hospital, Level 1. The best entrance to use to access Children's Audiology is entrance 18. Click on the link below to view a map of the location of the Children's Outpatients Department.


The nearest Carparks are Carparks 5 and 6.

Information about Children's Audiology

Additional Services - text for testing
Further information - text for testing