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Children’s Hearing Service

Making the most of every child's hearing.

Contact us

0300 123 2670
kentchft.childhearing@nhs.net

Admin Team are available:
Monday, Thursday and Friday, 8am to 4.30pm
Tuesday and Wednesday, 8am to 5pm.

See our clinic locations listed below.

Who we are

Our paediatric Audiology Team are highly experienced in the diagnosis and management of children experiencing hearing difficulties.

We cover the areas of West Kent, Medway and Swale and have facilities located in Gravesend, Sevenoaks, Coxheath and Sittingbourne. All our staff travel within the area to ensure the best possible care is available to all our patients.  

We currently see children from birth until 16 years old and as a team we specialise in assessing and managing hearing loss in children who have multiple conditions and complex needs.

How do you use this service?

We will accept referrals from any health professionals providing there is a valid reason for referral and consent has been given by the child’s parents or carers.

Referrals should be sent by email and referrers should use the referral form attached.

Referrals will be triaged by our clinical team into the most appropriate clinic according to the information supplied by the referrer.

For APD referrals please see the Auditory processing disorder page and read the section 'how to refer to our service'.

What to expect when attending our audiology clinics?

You will be sent a text message questionnaire which must be filled before we allocate an appointment. We will aim to accommodate an appointment within six weeks from the date of referral, providing the text questionnaire has been completed.

Should you need to bring along other children, please bring another adult with you who can look after them while your child is having their hearing tested.

If you are unable to attend for any reason please ensure you cancel your appointment with plenty of notice so these appointments can be offered to others in need. Unfortunately if you cancel more than one appointment a new referral will be required before another appointment can be offered.

On arrival at the clinic please check in with the receptionist if one is available, if not please take a seat in the main waiting area and wait to be called. Once you are called into clinic the staff seeing you will introduce themselves. The audiologist will discuss your concerns and take a detailed history of your child’s health and development.  A hearing assessment will be carried out and will involve a series of objective and subjective tests. The tests are dependent on the child’s age. Sometimes it can take more than one appointment to fully establish a child’s hearing thresholds.

Objective tests

  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) – A small probe is placed into your child’s ear and a series of clicking sounds are sent down the ear to the cochlea. The response from the cochlea is then recorded on the computer screen. This test does not give exact hearing threshold levels but can indicate whether there is functional hearing present.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) – This test involves sensors being placed on your child’s head and measures the brain’s response to sound when different frequencies are played through earphones/headphones. This test is performed primarily on newborn babies as it requires the child to be asleep.
  • Tympanometry –This test measures the movement of the eardrum and the pressure behind the eardrum. It can confirm whether there is any fluid behind the eardrum (glue ear). Glue ear is the most common cause of temporary childhood hearing loss.
  • Acoustic Reflex Testing – Testing is used to monitor the stapedial reflex that occurs in response to high intensity sound stimuli.

Subjective tests

  • Visual Reinforcement Audiometry – Generally performed on children between the ages of eight months to two and half years. Sounds of different frequencies and levels are played through either speakers or earphones. The child is taught to turn their head every time they hear a sound where they will then be presented with a visual reward (a flashing light or dancing puppet)
  • Play Audiometry – Suitable for children aged between two and-a-half years to six years. They will be asked to listen to different sounds through earphones and play a game. For example they may be asked to put a man in a boat every time they hear a sound or to put a ball on the stick.
  • Pure Tone Audiometry – This can generally be performed on children aged 6 and above. They will be asked to press a button in response to a sound and to listen for the quietest sounds they can hear.
  • Speech Audiometry – Speech testing is primarily for hearing aid users but can be used for those with satisfactory hearing as well. The test involves automated speech played through some speakers where the child will be asked to either identify animals, words or sentences. This helps to establish a child’s ability  to perceive speech.

The tests are designed for the child’s developmental age and are not strictly based on chronological age.

The audiologist(s) seeing you will only use a select number of tests that is deemed to be the most appropriate for the child’s age and referral.

The Audiologist will give you the results of the tests at the end of the appointment. All results will be explained thoroughly and any questions you may have can be answered during the appointment. You will receive a report approximately a week later detailing all results and outcomes of the appointment. Please ensure before you leave we have all correct address, phone numbers and GP details.

Outcomes

The most common cause of temporary childhood hearing loss is glue ear. Glue ear is a build-up of fluid in the middle ear behind the eardrum. It is extremely common and statistics show 80% of children will experience glue ear at some point in their childhood. A child can have glue ear and it does not necessarily affect their hearing.  Glue ear is usually a temporary problem and will clear up by itself but in some cases further treatment may be needed.

If your child has a permanent hearing loss and the hearing loss has been confirmed over two appointments, a discussion will be had as to whether hearing aids may be beneficial. Your child will also be referred to the specialist teachers of the hearing impaired for support especially within an educational setting. The referral will be made with the consent of the parents.

Information for hearing aid patients

If your child has been given a hearing aid and it gets broken you can ring to arrange a repair appointment.

If your child has lost their hearing aid please call for a replacement. You will then be informed when this is ready for collection from one of our sites. You child does not need to attend to collect the hearing aid.

Unfortunately we are unable to offer ‘walk in’ hearing repair clinics at any of our locations.

C2hear online is a series of short videos about hearing aids, hearing loss and communication.

Our locations

Our service works at the following sites:

  • Gravesham Community Hospital (Gravesend)
  • Sevenoaks Hospital (Sevenoaks)
  • The Orchards Centre (Sittingbourne)
  • The Heathside Centre (Maidstone) - 0330 123 2670.

Our main base is at The Heathside Centre, so, if you call another hospital, we may not be informed of this and it may not be forwarded to our service.

Your comments

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May 2024
Sittingbourne

Was amazing - we were called for a cancellation appointment and when we arrived we were seen earlier than our appointment time. The hearing test was carried out in a funny and interesting manner, allowing my daughter to remain focused.

April 2024
Gravesend

Audiologist was absolutely amazing. So kind caring and professional, was able to articulate everything clearly not just to me but also my child, he was fantastic.

45352
Sevenoaks

Audiologist was brilliant with my daughter, friendly and warm. Didn’t rush her and worked at my daughter's pace.

February 2024
Sevenoaks

The staff were very friendly and explained everything clearly. They spoke to my son and explained things to him before speaking to me, which impressed me.

January 2024
Gravesend

Kind and compassionate staff who engaged excellently with my 5 year old son who is on the autism spectrum. They communicated well to me as a parent and were exceptional at guiding my son through the experience.

May 2023
Maidstone

Very personable clinician who answered all questions and made everyone at ease.

May 2023
Maidstone

Very professional and understanding and brilliant with children

May 2023
Maidstone

Very friendly, reassuring staff.

April 2023
Maidstone

Very thorough examination, experienced staff and a relaxed atmosphere. Seen quickly and on time.

April 2023
Sevenoaks

Excellent team. Great with my child. Excellent explanation of the process and follow up.

April 2023
Maidstone

Took their time and engaged well with my child.

April 2023
Maidstone

Staff were friendly and patient, making the effort to make our son comfortable and relaxed during the assessment.

March 2023
Gravesend

Friendly, made my son very calm, explained things clearly.

March 2023
Sittingbourne

Brilliant staff who are very knowledgeable and excellent with my child.

March 2023
Maidstone

Very informative and environment very calm for younger children.

March 2023
Gravesend

The two staff members, Rose and Ashleen were amazing with my child. Very friendly and professional.

January 2023
Gravesend

Appointment dealt with on time and the audiologist was quick and clear regarding what he was doing.

January 2023

Very helpful staff, made everything clear, not intimidating for my child. (Liaison service)

January 2023
Maidstone

Staff were very friendly and explained everything thoroughly.

January 2023
Maidstone

The staff were very kind and engaging. Good communication, thank you!

December 2022
Maidstone

Really helpful clinicians who explained findings and next steps clearly.

December 2022
Maidstone

Staff member doing the test made daughter feel at ease.

December 2022
Sittingbourne

My appointment was quick, objective and well explained throughout.

December 2022
Sittingbourne

Prompt and efficient appointment, no concerns.

June 2022
Sevenoaks

The lady explained to my daughter what was going to happen. She had a lovely calm way when communicating with my daughter.

June 2022
Sittingbourne

Nikki and Kelly were brilliant with my daughter and made the appointment fun.

May 2022
Sittingbourne

Very happy with the service received today. They were fantastic with my son and made him feel relaxed and happy during the whole process. Thank you very much.

May 2022
Maidstone

Staff were lovely and reassuring for my son.

April 2022
Gravesend

Friendly, knowledgeable, supportive and very mindful of mine and baby's needs.

April 2022
Sittingbourne

The doctor was kind and helpful. I liked the way she spoke to my son to explain what she was going to do on the tests.

March 2022
Maidstone

Very attentive and friendly staff.

March 2022
Sittingbourne

The care received was amazing.

March 2022
Sevenoaks

Such a child friendly positive experience.

February 2022
Sevenoaks

Very friendly and a lovely approach for my young child.

February 2022
Gravesend

Efficient, on time, pleasant and knowledgeable.

January 2022
Sevenoaks

Put at ease, were very thorough and explained everything.

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