New online tool to help parents detect hearing loss in children

To mark Hearing Awareness Week and World Hearing Day next week, the Shepherd Centre is launching a new, free-to-access online Listening Check set to help Australian parents and caregivers check for possible signs of hearing loss in children.

The new Listening Check online tool enables parents and caregivers to check a child’s functional listening by answering a set of simple questions. The Listening Check provides insights into how an individual listens in natural environments and settings, by using everyday scenarios and simple language in the questions.

The online Listening Check has been adapted from `The Functional Listening Index – Paediatric’ (FLI-P) tool developed by The Shepherd Centre – a leading provider of early intervention services for children with hearing loss – and technology development firm Metarouge, to help Australian families identify whether their child may be impacted by hearing loss.

The launch of the Listening Check coincides with new national research, completed by First Voice, which indicates that many Australians would not know where to turn to for support if their child was born with or developed hearing loss.1 Hearing loss currently affects one in six Australians, and this number is expected to increase to one in four by 2050.2

 Although the online Listening Check is not a diagnostic tool for hearing loss, it does evaluate the results and determine the next best step for parents and caregivers, encouraging access to crucial support services if listening skills are not developing as expected. Parents who suspect their child may have hearing loss should seek professional help as soon as possible.

According to Aleisha Davis, General Manager of Clinical Programs at The Shepherd Centre, the Listening Check will help highlight the importance of listening in children’s development, and the impact that hearing loss can have on this. With increased awareness it is hoped that hearing loss in children doesn’t go unnoticed and parents can be equipped with all the information needed to ensure their child reaches their potential.

“We know that for every child with hearing loss receiving the necessary support, there is another child who isn’t, impacting their ability to develop essential speech, language and social skills that will give them the best possible start in life,” says Ms Davis.

“Currently our health system doesn’t have routine hearing tests in place for children after newborn infant screening, so it’s very important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the signs and to seek help if they are concerned.”

“The online Listening Check aims to support parents and caregivers in being proactive when it comes to acting on concerns with listening development so they can begin early intervention support as soon as possible. The launch of the Listening Check is a positive step forward in making sure all Australian children with hearing loss or listening difficulties receive the support they need,” says Ms Davis.

About the Shepherd Centre

The Shepherd Centre is home to a world leading program which gives parents the skills and confidence to help their children enter mainstream schools with speech and listening abilities on par with their hearing peers.

It costs almost $14,000 per year per child to provide these essential services. The Shepherd Centre relies on government support and fundraising to help the more than 500 families who turn to them each year. For more information, visit: www.shepherdcentre.org.au or call 1800 020 030.

The Listening Check is available at: listeningcheck.shepherdcentre.org.au

 

References:

  1. First Voice research on file, 2020/21.
  2. Hearing Care Industry Associationhttp://www.hcia.com.au/resources/HCIA.pdf