What to expect at your child’s hearing test


Please let us know if you require an interpreter for your child’s appointment.

To get the most accurate results we want your child to be able to co-operate with the testing. Should your child be unwell or has a heavy cold please contact the department to cancel and rearrange your appointment as this may temporarily affect your child’s hearing. Please contact us as soon as possible so we can offer the appointment to someone else.

The test

  • It usually takes between 20 to 40 minutes to complete the appointment.
  • It is important the room is quiet throughout testing.
  • We ask questions relating to your child’s health and hearing.
  • We look in your child’s ears.
  • We may carry out an automatic test for which your child does not need to do anything except stay still.
  • We test your child’s hearing by playing a variety of games depending on the age* and development of your child (see table below).
  • We may carry out a test to see if there is any congestion behind their eardrums, which involves putting a small rubber tip to the edge of the ear and puffing a small amount of air into the ear.

We may also play a game to see how they respond to speech. Depending on their age this may include pointing to a toy, a picture or repeating a word.

After the test

  • We will discuss the results of the test with you at the end of the appointment.
  • At this stage we will advise you if any further testing needs to be done.
  • You will have the opportunity to ask any questions at this stage.

If you have any questions before we see you, please ring the Paediatric Audiology team on 01642 854071.

Hearing tests for different age groups

Birth to six months

We will carry out an automatic test for which we require your baby to be asleep.

Eight months to 2½ years

We will have your child sitting on your knee, and we will play with basic toys on a table in front of them. We will then encourage your child to turn to a toy which will light up and dance when they have heard a sound. The sound will be played through a speaker, small foam tips in the ears, or through a small headband behind the ear. We will be able to test their hearing by getting them to turn every time they hear a sound.

2½ yrs to six years

We will teach your child to play a game when they hear a sound, either through a speaker, small foam tips in the ears, headphones or a small headband behind the ear. We will be able to test their hearing by getting them to play the game every time they hear the sound.

Six years and over

We will put a set of headphones over your child’s ears and play sounds directly into the ears individually, getting them to press a button when they have heard the sound. We may also carry out the test with a small headband behind their ears.

* Ages are approximate and can vary depending on each individual child