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Last updated: 30 March, 2020 15:59pm

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Hearing Loss In Children – Information for GPs

Referral criteria / commissioning position

  • After six weeks of reported deafness. Usual wait time is six weeks therefore testing is done at three months in line with national guidance
  • Where hearing loss is causing significant functional impairment refer immediately, do not have to wait six weeks
  • Following the consideration of a trial of treatment of nasal disease (rhinitis or infection) if indicated, prior to referral (Intra-nasal steroid)

Information to include in referral letter

Children with sustained hearing loss need referral to the Paediatric audiology service

Children with additional surgical problems such as rhinitis, blocked nose, snoring, OSA should be treated in primary care first and/or referred to ENT rather than the paediatric audiology service

  • How the hearing loss affects the child, where the child is really struggling an earlier appointment can be arranged
  • The duration of the hearing loss
  • If the child may have extra difficulty wearing headphones and responding to sound e.g. has learning difficulties, please note it in the letter. Testing with extra staff and equipment will be arranged.
  • Relevant past medical/surgical history
  • Current regular medication
  • Smoking status
  • BMI
  • Alcohol consumption

References and additional information

This guideline describes referral for the most common cause of sustained hearing loss in children, otitis media with effusion (glue ear).  Sensorineural hearing loss in children is more likely to be diagnosed through the neonatal screening program.

Nice Surgical management of OME

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