hearing loss can have better communication, language and learning skills by the time they start school when they get:
- their hearing assessed early in life
- a high quality hearing aid, cochlear implant or another amplification device
early intervention support.
Hearing test results are displayed on a graph called an audiogram. The results show what your child can hear and help the audiologist decide whether your child needs amplification.
Hearing tests for newborn babies
All newborn babies can be screened for hearing loss in their first few weeks. This is called the
Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program.
The test usually happens at the mother’s bedside in hospital, or at an outpatient appointment. Special equipment plays sounds into your baby’s ears and records how they respond to it. The screen is quick and painless – most babies are asleep when they‘re tested.
If your baby does not pass the screening, they’ll be referred to an audiologist for further assessment.
Hearing tests for infants, toddlers and preschoolers
Speak to your child’s maternal child and health nurse or doctor if you have concerns about their communication or listening development.
They can refer you to an audiologist to test your child’s hearing. An audiologist will carry out either:
- behavioural testing – observes how your child responds to noises (like turning their head)
- objective testing – uses special sensors on your sleeping child’s head to measure the function of the auditory (hearing) nerve.
The audiologist will arrange some specialist appointments for you and your child. For example, with a speech pathologist or an early childhood intervention hearing support worker.
The main goal is to give your child a way to communicate with you and to develop language.
Communication and language
If your child is deaf or hard of hearing, there are different ways they may communicate:
- spoken language
- bilingual – sign language (Australian Sign Language – Auslan) and spoken or written language.
Your child’s needs are unique, and may change over time. The right communication choice is the one that works best for you and your child.
Early intervention professionals can talk to you about different communication options. You can also speak to other families, and watch how your child prefers to communicate.
Aussie Deaf Kids website for more information about choosing communication methods for your child.
Deaf and hard of hearing children use listening devices to help them hear spoken language. These include hearing aids, cochlear implants and personal wireless devices.
All children and young people under 26 years old are given free listening devices and assessments with
Support for parents
parent health section has tips on looking after your health and wellbeing.
You can also find advocacy support from: