Hearing Problems In Children

Hearing Problems In Children

If your child has speech or language difficulties or has trouble following instructions, they may have a hearing problem. Other signs include if they are easily distracted or have difficulty paying attention in class.


Key points to remember about hearing problems in children

  • if you have concerns about your child's hearing at any time, take your child for an assessment
  • if your child does have a hearing problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development

How do I know if my child has a hearing problem?

Your child may have a hearing problem if they:

  • have speech or language difficulties
  • have trouble following instructions
  • are easily distracted or has difficulty paying attention in class

These symptoms may vary from time to time.

Talk to your family doctor about arranging a full hearing assessment for your child at the audiology department of your local hospital.

If you notice a discharge from your child's ear, you should take them to see your family doctor. Some areas have mobile children's ear clinics which visit schools and early childhood education centres. If your area has a mobile clinic, you could also talk to the ear nurse specialists who staff these. They are specially trained to diagnose, treat, monitor and refer for children with middle ear problems.

If you notice a smelly discharge coming from your child's ear, take them to see your family doctor straightaway.

A smelly discharge from your child's ear could indicate a serious health problem. You should visit your family doctor immediately if you notice this.

If your child does have a hearing problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development.

What will it cost if my child has a hearing problem?

You will not have to pay to have your child's hearing assessed at the hospital audiology clinic. You may need a referral for your child from your family doctor and there may be a wait before your child is seen. There is likely to be a charge if you visit a local private audiologist.

Support for children with hearing loss or auditory processing disorders is available free of charge. Hearing aids, cochlear implants and other devices for children are provided free.

See the KidsHealth ear section

This page last reviewed 30 June 2022.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it