Children's hearing (paediatric audiology)

  • Children's hearing service at HCT The children’s hearing service (also known as paediatric audiology) offer a comprehensive family friendly service for babies, children and young people living in West Hertfordshire where there is a concern about their hearing or a known hearing difficulty. We are a team of skilled and experienced paediatric audiologists, a consultant in audiovestibular medicine and audiology assistants.

    Important notice during COVID-19

    The children’s hearing service is continuing to run face-to-face clinic appointments during the current national lockdown. If you have an appointment planned, we encourage you to attend this. We are continue to accept new referrals through the normal referral routes. However, please note that there are significantly increased waiting times for most initial and follow up appointments.

    Face-to-face appointments

    In order to comply with social distancing regulations and to keep everyone safe, the duration of face-to-face appointments is being minimised. We may therefore contact you ahead of your appointment to take an up to date medical history for your child or you may be asked to complete a history questionnaire on arrival.

    • Only one parent/guardian is permitted to attend the appointment with a child. Please do not bring any other children to the appointment - if you attend with other children you may be turned away.
    • Please do not attend a face-to-face appointment if you, your child or anyone in your household is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or if you or your child is required to self-isolate during the time of the appointment.
    • On arrival at the HCT centre, please follow local instructions provided when the appointment was booked. Please aim to arrive at your appointment time as there is limited waiting space in the buildings and car parks. A clinician will collect you and lead you to the clinic room. Clinicians will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), as per recommended guidelines.
    • We ask that you maintain social distancing wherever possible and when entering the building, please ensure that both of you are wearing a face covering or mask (very young children or those with additional needs will not be required to wear a face covering or mask).
    • Strict cleaning procedures are in place.

    Virtual or telephone appointments

    Some appointments may be offered by telephone or virtually via ‘Attend Anywhere’. Information on using ‘Attend Anywhere’ can be found at:

    If you have a booked virtual appointment with us, the link to connect with us can be found on:

    Information for those awaiting an initial appointment

    If you have received a referral acceptance letter from our service; we would like to reassure you that your child remains on our waiting list and will be offered an appointment once they reach the top of the waiting list. Although we aim to see all children within 18 weeks of referral, unfortunately due to COVID-19 and the restrictions in place, our waiting times for routine hearing assessments have increased significantly beyond this. We are unable to give an approximate time frame for any appointments.

    If you have significant concerns regarding your child’s hearing, please contact us on the departmental email address and our clinicians will endeavour to respond to your email as quickly as they can. Please include your child’s full name and date of birth in your email.

    Information for those awaiting a follow-up appointment

    If you have significant concerns regarding your child’s hearing, please contact us on the departmental email address and our clinicians will endeavour to respond to your email as quickly as they can. Please include your child’s full name and date of birth in your email.

    If your child has previously been diagnosed with glue ear, please see information below on Otovent:

    Otovent is a medically proven, non-invasive and drug free treatment method to combat glue ear and help avoid surgery and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Children from approximately four years of age who can blow their nose can be treated with Otovent. The Otovent pack is intended for 2-3 weeks treatment. It is recommended that Otovent should be used 2-3 times each day until all excess fluid has been drained away.

    How to use:

    For further information see

    Information for hearing aid users

    The department continues to provide support to our hearing aid users to ensure their hearing aids remain fully functional. If you require hearing aid batteries or supplies please contact us on the departmental email address and we can arrange for these to be posted out.

    Please look at our hearing aid booklet for a ‘hearing aid maintenance and troubleshooting guide’.

    If your child requires new ear moulds or you have a broken hearing aid, then please contact us on the departmental email address and we will advise you when to drop the hearing aids off for repair. Please do not drop hearing aids off without prior contact.

    If you have any other questions or queries, please contact us on the departmental email address.

    Contact the service

    If your query is regarding initial appointment for your child following a referral please contact
    Referral Hub
    01923 470 680 (Option 2 > Option 1)

    If your query is regarding follow up appointments for your child or any other query please contact

    Clinic locations:

How the service is provided

Children may be referred for a hearing assessment with children’s hearing service for the following reasons:

  • if the child did not pass either the new-born hearing screen or school entry hearing screen (conducted at approximately age 5)
  • if there are parental concerns or concerns from a professional about a child’s hearing
  • if a professional has a concern that the child has a risk factors for developing a hearing loss

Following a hearing assessment being completed, if your child is found to have satisfactory hearing, they may be discharged. If your child is found to have a hearing difficulty/loss, further testing may be required. The recommended management of hearing loss varies depending on:

  • the type of hearing loss (whether this is temporary or permanent)
  • the severity of hearing loss
  • whether the loss is in one ear or both ears

For temporary hearing loss, such as glue ear we may recommend ‘watchful waiting’ or referral to the Ear Nose and Throat Department as per the NICE guidance. For permanent hearing loss we may recommend continued monitoring, referral to other services and/or the provision of hearing aids.

Babies and children with significant permanent hearing loss will receive a package of care which is tailored to their specific needs. This will be carried out by a multi-agency team in partnership with the child and their parents and will include regular reviews. A typical package could include:

  • prescription of digital hearing aids in order to provide the child with sufficient access to speech and language
  • involvement of the specialist advisory service for hearing impairment
  • referral to a consultant in audiovestibular medicine who is responsible for arranging investigations to find out the cause of the hearing loss
  • referral to speech and language therapy
  • referral to an auditory implant team
  • Consultation or referral to other services as indicated

Transition to Adult services

Young people who have hearing loss and whose care needs to be transferred to adult services will be seen for a transition appointment prior to discharge from the children’s hearing service to their local adult service.

Who is eligible for the service

  • children aged 0-16 years who are registered with a Herts Valley GP practice (up to 18 years of age if they have a permanent hearing loss or special educational needs)
  • children who are under 5 years and primarily under ENT West Hertfordshire NHS Trust but who need their hearing monitored.

What will happen at your appointment

At all initial appointments a member of the team will take a full history, examine the child’s ears and do a hearing test.

Diagnostic hearing assessments are tailored to the child’s developmental stage. Newborn babies are required to be settled in order for the hearing assessment to be carried out. For older babies and children, the tests are made as fun as possible to encourage the child to participate. The test procedure will be explained to you during the appointment. The results will be fed back to you and a management plan will be agreed upon.

VIDEO: What to expect at your appointment (Peace Children's Centre)

Useful information


National Deaf Children's Society
a national charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people

Action on Hearing Loss
Changing the world for deaf and hard of hearing people

The Phoenix Group for Deaf Children

NHS newborn hearing screening programme

Have you heard of the Local Offer?  If you are a young person with, or have a child with special educational needs and disabilities, (SEND) the Local Offer is Hertfordshire’s central source of information for SEND services and support. Visit for an easily accessible one stop shop.

Making a referral

We accept referrals for any child living in West Hertfordshire from any professionals looking after that child or from the child’s GP.

Referral form

Referral form

Email your referral form to

or send to:
Referral Admin Hub
Peace Children’s Centre
WD17 3EW

Patient experience

If you would like to share your story, please contact the Patient Experience team on 01707 388036 or email

We would also love to hear about your experience on our service, please complete a survey by clicking here.