Hearing Health: Referral and screening services for a child or young person under 21 years
How can I make a referral?
Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT)
Other medical specialist
Early Childhood Nurse
Other health care provider
Teacher or education support staff
Free hearing assessments for children can be arranged at:
the Audiology Department of the local hospital or Community Health Centre
Assessments by private audiologists will normally incur a fee (note: not all private audiologists have paediatric expertise and equipment).
To find a local Audiologist go to consumer information.
What hearing screening programs are available for babies and children in NSW?
State-wide Infant Screening for Hearing (SWISH) 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 SWISH 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 prove to have a hearing loss. Approximately half the babies identified by the screening process will require assistance for their hearing development.
For more information contact the SWISH Coordinator at your maternity hospital or go to SWISH.
Early Childhood Health Centres can provide hearing screening through Well Baby clinics and routine developmental checks. Each child has a Blue Book that has information about hearing development milestones.
For more information contact your local Early Childhood 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, and listening, learning and language development. It can be a problem for all children, however, it occurs more frequently in Aboriginal communities.
The NSW Otitis (OM) Screening Program for 0-6 year-old Aboriginal children is offered by NSW Health Area Health Services and Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services throughout NSW.
For more information contact your Area Health Service, local Community Health Centre, Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Service or General Practitioner.
Children with OM who are unable to access screening should have their hearing assessed. See referral information below.
School and Pre-School hearing screening is offered in some areas in NSW by school or community nurses. This assessment identifies children who require further assessment of hearing ability. If screening is not available, see information on referral for hearing assessment.
This web page is managed and authorised by Primary Health & Community Partnerships of the NSW Department of Health. Last updated: 17 March, 2009