Babies and children 

How can I make a referral? 

Referrals for hearing assessment can be made when either a child, family member, teacher, healthcare provider or other person raises concerns about a child's hearing ability. A hearing assessment may then be arranged by the child's parents or in consultation with a:

  • general practitioner
  • paediatrician
  • ear nose and throat specialist (ENT)
  • other medical specialist
  • child and family health nurse
  • other healthcare provider
  • teacher or education support staff.

Hearing assessment 

Free hearing assessments for children can be arranged at the Community Health Centre or the Audiology Department at the local hospital.

An assessment can be arranged through other providers including Commonwealth funded and private audiologists, although not all may have paediatric expertise and equipment and may incur a fee.

What hearing screening programs are available for babies and children in NSW? 

The following routine hearing screening programs may be available in your area:

  • State-wide Infant Screening- Hearing (SWIS-H) Program operates in maternity hospitals across NSW. Newborn hearing is screened by a simple procedure that assesses the baby's response to sounds. Babies identified as requiring follow-up by the screening test are then referred to a SWIS-H Audiology service at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children's Hospital, or at the John Hunter Children's Hospital in Newcastle for a full assessment. Not all children who are referred for further assessment will be diagnosed with a hearing loss. Approximately half the babies identified by the screening process will require assistance for their hearing development.

For more information contact the SWIS-H Coordinator at your maternity hospital or go to SWIS-H.

  • Child and family health nursing services can provide complete routine developmental checks for children up to six years. Each child has a Blue Book that has information about hearing development milestones. For more information contact your local Child and Family Health Centre.
  • Otitis Media (commonly referred to as "glue-ear") is an infection in the middle ear that affects speech development, taste and smell sensation, listening, learning and language development. It can be a problem for all children, however, it occurs more frequently in Aboriginal children.

Young people and adults

How can I obtain a referral?

Referrals for hearing assessment can be made when either an individual, their family, carers, employers or health care providers raise concerns about an adult's hearing. An individual may contact an audiologist directly or a referral can be made in consultation with a:

  • general practitioner
  • ear nose and throat specialist (ENT)
  • other medical specialist
  • other healthcare provider.

At the age of 27 years most people who have been receiving hearing support services from a paediatric program or Australian Hearing will need to change service providers. Existing services can provide information to assist them in finding an appropriate provider.

Current as at: Monday 2 December 2019