James Cook – children and young people's audiology
Tel: 01642 854071 (8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday)
An answerphone service is in operation after 4.30pm. Please leave a message with your name and telephone number and we will contact you.
Friarage Hospital – audiology department
Tel: 01609 763212 between 9am and 12.30pm Monday to Friday.
An answer phone service is in operation after 12.30pm. Please leave a message with your name and telephone number and we will contact you.
Frequently asked questions
What should I do if I’m concerned about my child’s hearing?
Please speak to your GP or health visitor if you are concerned. They can refer you to your local children’s audiology service for an assessment.
Where are services provided?
The audiology department provides children’s hearing assessment clinics in Middlesbrough, Redcar, Northallerton, Bedale and Richmond. We provide diagnostic follow-up assessments after newborn hearing screening for children in the above areas and in addition for those living in the Hartlepool and North Tees areas. Children’s hearing aid fitting and review clinics are held at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, Redcar Hospital, Lawson Street Health Centre in Stockton and the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.
What if we lose a hearing aid?
If a hearing aid is lost please contact the paediatric secretary on 01642 854071 for an appointment where an audiologist will take a new impression of your child’s ear. A further appointment will be sent out inviting the child to return to the department for a hearing aid fitting. Please note there may be a charge if hearing aids are repeatedly lost or damaged through carelessness or misuse.
What if my child’s ear is sore?
If you suspect or think your child is suffering from an ear infection we recommend you go to see your GP straight away. It is important to treat ear infections quickly. Hearing aids should not be used until the infection has fully cleared. If it does not get better, please contact us and we may be able to arrange for you to be seen by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor. If you think the soreness is related to the ear mould or hearing aid, please contact the paediatric secretary on 01642 854071 for an appointment.
What if the aid doesn’t work?
If you cup your hands around the hearing aid and you don’t hear a high pitched whistle, try changing the battery. If you still do not hear any whistling sounds from the hearing aid please contact the paediatric secretary on 01642 854071 for an appointment.
What if my child’s ear becomes blocked with wax?
Wax is a naturally occurring substance that is produced by the skin lining the ear canal. The body removes wax naturally by itself, by it working its way out of the ear canal entrance. When wearing hearing aids for the majority of the day, the ear is blocked off and wax is more likely to build up as it cannot work its way out of the ear. Wax only becomes a problem if a new mould is required, the aids are whistling (feedback) or if it completely blocks the ear canal.
If the aids are whistling and the ear canal is blocked with wax it may be that the wax is causing the feedback. If the aids are whistling, please contact the paediatric secretary on 01642 854071 for an appointment. If the ears are blocked with wax the audiologist will advise the best course of action. This can be to use ear drops or to see your GP for wax removal, sometimes this is done at the hospital. Once the wax is removed if the hearing aids continue to whistle a new mould is likely to be needed.
What if the hearing aids go off then start working again?
If your child complains the hearing aid keeps going on and off and you have noticed that sometimes the aid works and sometimes it doesn’t, it could be an intermittent fault but is more likely to be due to condensation. Condensation (small droplets of water) can build up inside the hearing aid or mould with continued use.
If this occurs the hearing aid stops working. Once the hearing aid has dried out the aid will usually start to work again. You should have been given some dry caps and drying pot when the hearing aids were issued, which can be used to draw the water out. Please contact the paediatric secretary on 01642 854071 if you have run out. Sometimes condensation or water droplets can be shaken out of the mould or a ‘puffer’ used. A ‘puffer’ should have been issued when your child was first fitted with hearing aids. If you do not have one please let us know.
How do I keep my child or baby’s hearing aids in place?
In small children especially babies it can be difficult to get the hearing aid to stay behind the ear as the ear is quite floppy. The department can provide small circular double sided sticky pads to ‘stick’ the hearing aid to the skin behind the ear. Toupee tape also works well. Alternatives are ‘Huggies’ which are bands which go around the ear. Please ask for details from the audiology department, if you would like to try these.
How will I know if the batteries need changing?
If the hearing aid is not working try changing the battery. Batteries will probably need to be changed every week with consistent use but this depends on the power of the aids. Batteries may be obtained from the centres listed at the end of this leaflet or from your local GP surgery (please check with your GP). We can also post batteries out. Please ring the department to request this.
How do I know which hearing aid fits which ear? (BTE only)
If your child has a pair of hearing aids; the right and left hearing aids will be set up to match the hearing loss in each ear, which is likely to be slightly different. Therefore, it is important not to mix them up. Please ensure the right hearing aid stays with the right mould and the left hearing aid with the left mould. To ensure there is no mix up, some hearing aids will have a red or blue mark in or near the battery drawer. Red is for right and blue is for left. Some hearing aids will have red or blue stickers on the surface of the hearing aid itself. Or you can put your own stickers on the hearing aid to show which is which.
What should I do if my child needs new moulds or hearing aids no longer fit? (BTE only)
New moulds/hearing aids are usually needed if you can hear a high pitched whistling noise coming from the hearing aid while in the child’s ear. Children can grow quickly so there may be periods of time where new moulds are required on an almost monthly basis. If your child needs new impressions taking please contact the paediatric secretary on 01642 854071 for an appointment.
There an audiologist will take a new impression of your child’s ears. The new moulds can either be posted out, or you can return to the open access repair clinic to have the moulds fitted. Moulds can be requested with pictures (hearts, teddy bear, duck etc) or glitter (red, blue, mint green). The audiologist taking the impressions will go through the different pictures and glitter colour options, which varies depending on the type of mould needed.
Keeping moulds clean (BTE only)
Moulds should be cleaned in warm soapy water at least once a week. The hearing aid must be separated from the mould before the mould is washed. Please try to keep the left hearing aid with the left mould and the right hearing aid with the right mould. The best way to ensure this is to separate, clean and re-attach the right hearing aid and then the left aid. Before reattaching the hearing aid please ensure all moisture has been removed from the tube inside the mould, the puffer can be used for this.
What happens if my child’s hearing changes?
After the fitting of your child’s hearing aids they will be reviewed a few weeks after to see how things are getting along. The next review will be approximately three months after, then at six months after fitting and then at a year. If the hearing has remained stable and they are at school they will be offered a yearly review.
Pre-school children with a stable hearing loss will be offered twice yearly reviews. If your child has a fluctuating hearing loss they may require more reviews. However, if any time you have concerns please feel free to contact the department as we are happy to make appointment sooner. At these reviews, hearing tests will be carried out as needed but at least on an annual basis. Generally the older the child is the more accurate picture we can obtain of their hearing loss.