Audiology

What do we do:

The Audiology Department offers diagnostic hearing tests for people under 16 years of age. This includes newborn babies referred from the newborn hearing screening programme, infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children.

Hearing aid fitting and follow up for children with permanent or significant hearing loss. The Audiology Department also carries out ultra-high frequency hearing tests, used for monitoring the hearing of patients undergoing certain chemotherapies.

We receive referrals from GPs, Well Child Services, Paediatricians, ENT Specialists, Vision and Hearing Testers, the Child Development Service, Speech and Language Therapists, Newborn Hearing Screeners, Hearing Therapy, and other places

It is often completed in hospital shortly after birth but before babies go home, but can also be completed in an outpatient setting up to 3 months of age.


Services:

0-3 months - Newborn hearing screening

A service that is offered to all babies born in NZ.

It is often completed in Gisborne Hospital shortly after birth but before babies go home, but can also be completed in an outpatient setting up to 3 months of age.

Referral process: Offered to all babies born in hospital by newborn hearing screeners, referrals from LMCs/Midwives, Turanga Health or Plunket for babies born at home/at Te Puia Springs.

This programme only covers babies up to 3 months of age. 

0 months - 16 years - Diagnostic hearing assessment (tests chosen based on the age of the child)

Hearing aid fitting and follow up (provided on a regular basis, frequency of appointments depends on the age of the child). Funding provided through Enable (Ministry of Health) with no costs passed on to families.

Appointments are held at Gisborne Hospital.
Referrals for students (still in education) up to the age of 21 will be accepted.

16 years and over - Diagnostic hearing assessment

There are two private practices that provide audiology services for hearing assessments or hearing aid related queries.

You can be referred by your GP, Specialist, Ear Nurse, Hearing therapist or Audiologist. You can also make an appointment without a referral. 

 There are charges for some services at these clinics.

1)      Bay Audiology, 272 Clifford Street, Whataupoko (behind the Balance Street shops). Phone: 06 967 6711

2)      Triton Hearing, 2 Potae Avenue, Lytton West (in the Lytton West shops). Phone: 06 8632856 


Exams and procedures:

  • Newborn hearing screen – skin is prepared with gel in 3 spots on the head. An earphone is placed over the ear (one at a time) and soft clicking sounds are played into the ear while the baby sleeps. This screen is attempting to measure a response from the hearing nerve. 
  • ABR – Auditory Brainstem Response – a test on babies (generally under 3 months old) who do not pass the newborn hearing screen, where 4 stickers are placed on the head, and earphones play soft clicking sounds into the ears (one at a time). Recordings are made from the hearing nerve while baby sleeps.

  • VRA – Visual Reinforcement Audiometry – sounds are played and babies/toddlers (aged between 6 months and 30 months old) are taught to turn towards the sound when they hear it. When they hear the sound they are rewarded with a puppet or video.

  • Play Audiometry– sounds are played through headphones and children (aged between 30 months and 5-6 years old) are taught to respond by putting a peg on a pegboard each time they hear a sound.

  • Pure tone Audiometry – sounds are played through headphones and older children/adults push a button each time they hear a sound.

  • Speech testing – repeating words presented at different volumes in different listening conditions.

  • Tympanometry – a test of eardrum movement and middle ear health – feels like a change of pressure when a small ear tip is put into the ear. Does not require a response from the patient. 
  • DPOAE testing – a test of inner ear function – plays a range of different beeping sounds into the ear with a small soft ear tip. Does not require a response from the patient.

  • Ear Impression taking – soft putty-like material is safely placed into the ear by the audiologist. This takes 2-3 minutes to set and when removed, it gives a moulded shape of an individual’s ear. This procedure is needed for fitting hearing aids to all children.

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