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Hearing impairment

Signs that indicate your child may have a hearing difficulty

As a young baby, your child should start responding to your voice and be startled by loud noises. He should start to turn and look at familiar sounds (like a favourite TV programme). By a year old, your child should understand a few words and be able to say one or two words, even if it is as simple as ‘da da’. If at 18 months to two years, your child is not responding to sounds and words or trying to repeat them, you could speak to your GP or health visitor and get some advice.

With an older child, you may notice that they hear some things and not others, that they have the TV on loud, that they hold their ear forward when listening, that they start to struggle at school. You may also feel they are not paying attention or they tell you they can’t hear you. You child may also look at you intently when you’re speaking to them. They may be relying on mouth movements and visual clues as to work out what you are trying to say to them.

What to do if you are concerned

If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing or would like to request a hearing test, please talk to your GP, health visitor or other health professional you may be working with.

They may refer you to the children's hearing service (Audiology) 

Childrens hearing service (audiology) Hounslow

The Audiology Service is based at the Heart of Hounslow Centre for Health.  There are outreach clinics also held at the Feltham Centre for Health and Chiswick Health Centre.

We specialise in children's hearing - and see children from birth up until the age of 25 (if in full time education) for a range of hearing assessments, hearing aid fitting and rehabilitation. Our aim is to deliver a prompt, family friendly, seamless service, locally.

We receive referrals from a range of health professionals and the service also accepts referrals directly from parents.

For more information on the service including what to expect at an appointment click here.

How hearing impairment can affect a childs learning

  • The child may find it hard to follow instructions due to not hearing all the words clearly.
  • They may be overly tired. This would be due to the effort of having to listen carefully which can lead to poor concentration and frustration.
  • They may have difficulty with social interaction, especially in noisy environments; which makes the school environment hard for them.
  • They may lack confidence in speaking and being understood.
  • They may miss parts of the learning and so have gaps in their understanding, if their hearing issues were not resolved when they started school.

How you can support a child with a hearing impairment

  • Always make sure the child is in the optimal place to be able to hear.
  • Make sure the child can face anyone who is speaking to them, in good light.
  • Ensure the teacher does not stand silhouetted with light behind them, as the child will not be able to lip read.
  • Back everything up with visual clues, reducing important points to a minimum of words so that meaning is clear.
  • Plan the introduction of new words so that they are relevant to what is being spoken about and that they are pronounced clearly.
  • Get the child to repeat back new words so you know they have heard correctly.
  • Support social interaction between children and encourage turn taking.
  • Work closely with a teacher of hearing impaired children, or an audiologist.
  • If one ear is better than the other, establish which, and find out which frequencies are more of a problem.
  • Ensure the noise level in the classroom does not get too high, as the child will not be able to discriminate sounds.
  • Play games that require careful listening in a quiet environment.
  • Concentrate on very clear mouth movement.
  • Test if speaking louder is necessary, but be subtle as to avoid the child feeling embarrassed.
  • Use sign language to support the child if they are used to this.
  • Allow the child time to process what they have heard and to respond.

Local support for hearing impairment

There is a specialist support service for children and young people with hearing loss who will help with family and school support.

Most children with hearing loss will be able to attend mainstream schools and will be supported by the specialist team. They may work with the child and family from birth.

For children with severe hearing loss there are specialist centres at primary age  and secondary age. 

Support is also available at the special schools.