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Your paediatric appointment program

Australian Hearing is funded by the Australian Government to look after the hearing needs of children, from birth until 26 years of age, who have a permanent or long term hearing loss.

There is no charge for this service. If your child is fitted with hearing aids, they can be provided at no cost other than a low annual maintenance fee.

Your child will be seen by one of Australian Hearing audiologists who specialise in paediatric audiology. Their role is to provide you with information, support and guidance in hearing loss, hearing aids if required, and follow up assessments.

What services does Australian Hearing provide?

Your audiologist will work with you to plan a program that suits your child’s individual needs. While your audiologist is the expert in hearing, you are the expert in your own child and family. Your audiologist can offer the following services:

  • Hearing assessment
  • Supply and fitting of hearing aids and personal FM (radio frequency) aids if required
  • Ongoing monitoring of your child’s hearing and hearing aids
  • Liaison with medical, educational and other professionals who work with your child
  • Visits to specialist schools for hearing impaired students
  • Onsite hearing aid repairs
  • Repairs and replacement parts for cochlear implant speech processors
  • Upgrade or replacement cochlear implant speech processors
  • Information to help you and your child understand and manage the hearing loss.
Appointments

Appointments are offered at your convenience, but certain times are more popular with many families.

If you require urgent assistance, you will be offered an appointment within an appropriate time frame, but you may need to accept a time that is not your first preference. The aim is for you to see the same audiologist for each appointment. However, this is not always possible if, for example, you require an urgent appointment or your audiologist is on leave or working at another hearing centre. You can ask your audiologists to provide you with an attendance certificate to help with leave requirements in your work place.

Newly diagnosed hearing loss

Your first appointment
If your child has been diagnosed with a hearing loss, you will be offered an appointment within ten working days of Australian Hearing receiving the referral. At your first appointment your audiologist will talk to you about your child’s results, and may do further hearing tests if required. Your audiologists will explain the effects of the hearing loss, answer your questions and work with you to decide the best way to proceed.

If hearing aids are recommended, your audiologist will take impressions of your child’s ear using a soft putty material. The appointment usually takes 60 to 90 minutes and you are welcome to bring a friend or relative along.

Hearing aid fitting appointment
This appointment will be held approximately ten working days after the earmould impression is made and will also take 60 to 90 minutes. The hearing aids will be adjusted to suit your child’s hearing loss a loss and individual ear canal shape.

Your audiologist will show you or your child how to operate the hearing aids and will discuss a routine for wearing them. We will also talk to you about educational support that is available and arrange a referral for further support if you wish.

Follow up appointment
Your audiologist will review your child’s progress with the hearing aids and answer any questions you or your child may have. Any problems that have occurred since the hearing aids were fitted will be discussed. As a result of these discussions, it may necessary to adjust the hearing aids or test how well your child can hear with them. Your audiologist will then decide on the most appropriate review schedule.

Further follow up appointments
The timing and content of further appointments will depend on your child’s individual situation and age. Babies and toddlers may require several appointments for fine-tuning the hearing aids and dealing with behavioural issues related to their use. We will evaluate the benefits of fitting hearing aids using a parent questionnaire; you may be asked to spend time observing your child in-between appointments.

It is normally quicker to obtain more comprehensive results with older children. A school-aged child may be reviewed in three or six months after the follow up appointment if your audiologist is satisfied that the hearing aids have been optimally adjusted.

Ongoing care

Earmould impressions
Growing children need new earmoulds regularly, depending on their age and hearing loss:

  • Infants: every month to six weeks
  • Babies and toddlers: every three to four months
  • Older children: once or twice per year.

Earmould impression appointments can be made as required.

Review programs
Once the hearing aids are adjusted, children are placed onto a review program. Each year, at the start of your child’s review program, your audiologist will discuss your concerns and plan activities to help meet your goals and the paediatric protocols used by Australian Hearing.

A typical review program would include:

  • Preschoolers: two to four appointments per year
  • School age children: one appointment per year.

You can expect:

  • One hearing test per year
  • An annual assessment of your child’s listening ability with their hearing aids
  • Review of the hearing aids to ensure they are still appropriate for your child’s needs and/or any new technological advances in aids
  • Discussion about other devices or services which may benefit your child.

Further appointments may be arranged depending upon your child’s individual needs and goals. For example:

  • FM fitting
  • Comprehensive assessment of speech perception ability
  • Additional monitoring of hearing
  • Information sessions about hearing, hearing loss, hearing aids, other assistive devices.
Other services

You can take your child’s hearing aids in for repair to your hearing centre at any time during office hours without an appointment.

Please contact your hearing centre if you have any concerns about your child’s hearing.
If you think your child’s hearing is suddenly worse, please contact Australian Hearing urgently and you will be offered an appointment within 24 hours. Phone: 131 797


Information provided by Australian Hearing. Reproduced with permission.
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13-Nov-2015 4:19 PM (AEST)