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 to Friday, 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 either by email or post and referrers should use the referral form attached. The guidance questions can help you to determine whether the referral is appropriate.

Referrals will be triaged by our clinical team into the most appropriate tier 2 or tier 3 clinic according to the information supplied by the referrer.

Referrals for specialist testing for Auditory Processing Disorder will only be accepted when accompanied by a report expressing concern from a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or an educational psychologist. The Chaps and Fisher questionnaires should be filled out by the parent and the teacher who knows the child best. These forms need to accompany the referral before an appointment for APD will be offered.

What to expect when attending out audiology clinics?

You will be offered an appointment via phone. Confirmation of your appointment, along with a map and questionnaire will be sent to you via post.

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 6 months – 2.5 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 – Your child will be asked to identify /repeat toys pictures or objects to determine quietest listening levels and child’s ability to discriminate different sounds

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

Gravesham Community Hospital

Bath Street, Gravesend, DA11 0DG

Minor injury unit

Open 8am to 8pm, every day of the year.

See our minor injury units page for more details.

Our services at this location:

Please note there may be be other services at this location, including services not provided by KCHFT.

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Heathside Centre

Invicta House, Heath Road, Coxheath, Maidstone, Kent ME17 4AH

Our services at this location:

Please note there may be other services at this location, including services not provided by KCHFT.

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Orchards Swale MASH

Attlee Way, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 2HE

Our services at this location:

Please note there may be other services at this location, including services not provided by KCHFT.

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Sevenoaks Hospital

Hospital Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3PG

Community hospital

Ward visiting times are 2.30 to 5pm and 6.30 to 8pm

Please see our Sevenoaks Hospital page for more details.

Minor injury unit

8am to 8pm, every day of the year.

X-ray: Monday to Friday, 8.45am to 5pm.

See our minor injury units page for more details.

Our services at this location:

Please note there may be be other services at this location, including services not provided by KCHFT.

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Your comments

December 2019
Gravesend

Very calm environment. Person was very engaging and able to keep my son focussed; also very patient with him.

December 2019
Maidstone

Lovely staff, very patient and friendly

December 2019
Sittingbourne

Both (staff names) were amazing with my son; extremely friendly and so helpful.

July 2019
Gravesend

(Staff name) was really kind and patient with my anxious daughter.

July 2019
Sittingbourne

A very friendly atmosphere, staff outstanding and helpful. Experienced and knowledgeable staff.

July 2019
Gravesend

The audiologists were fantastic people, my son felt very comfortable. Extremely pleased.

Jun-19
Sevenoaks

First class excellent service, fantastic staff.

Jun-19
Sevenoaks

Lovely staff, my child was very at ease, they explained everything really well.

Jun-19
Sittingbourne

A very friendly atmosphere, staff outstanding and helpful. experienced and knowledgeable staff.

February 2019
Maidstone

My three year old was very reluctant at first but the staff were so friendly and patient with her and made her feel very comfortable by the end. It was also fun and she enjoyed the games.

February 2019
Gravesend

Staff were very friendly, helpful and good at explaining the outcome of hearing test.

February 2019
Sevenoaks

Staff were both really good with my 2 year old boy making him feel very relaxed. (Staff name) explained everything really clearly. They both made the experience really enjoyable.

January 2019
Maidstone

Audiologist really friendly. Answered all our questions and was able to advise where to get extra support and guidance not relating to hearing. Really wonderful service from start to finish. (Parent)

January 2019
Sittingbourne

Prompt appointment time and friendly welcoming staff. Very through checks and my son felt at ease and comfortable. (Parent)

January 2019
Sittingbourne

Fantastic service and staff were fabulous. (Parent)

January 2019
Maidstone

Carry on delivering such a wonderful service. (Parent)

June 2018
Dartford

The audiology team were amazing with my son. So friendly, kind and fun.

June 2018
Maidstone

Lovely, calm staff and environment which helped keep my 1 year old calm and happy.

June 2018
Gravesend

Polite, caring attitude very informative, willing to answer any questions explained what the audiologist was doing.

May 2018
Gravesend

The two members of the audiology team were so good with my young daughter and really helped her feel at ease.

April 2018
Sevenoaks

Lovely lady and really helpful and kind. She was very good with my daughter.

April 2018
Maidstone

They were friendly and helpful, listened to issues and took seriously and made suggestions

April 2018
Sevenoaks

Two ladies were amazing with my little boy putting him at such ease! Thank you!

January 2018
Maidstone

Very impressed with the service, friendly staff, patient and caring towards my child and informative- explaining everything as they went along.

February 2018
Dartford

Quick to be seen,friendly and helpful staff.

February 2018
Sevenoaks

From start to finish the service is excellent. Not a very long wait from referral. Very understanding and experienced staff.

February 2018
Gravesend

Staff were really friendly, helpful and made me and my son feel very at ease.