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What happens at a children’s hearing appointment?

One of our younger clients, Millie, sent us a blog about her trip to the clinic to get her hearing checked out.

My name is Millie and I’m 12 years old and I’m going to explain to you what it’s like to have a hearing test at angli-EAR Hearing.

As I walked in, the first thing I noticed was that the Reception was cheery, cool and bright. A nice lady greeted me at the door and asked me my name. My appointment was with Nadia, one of the audiologists (ear experts at angli-EAR Hearing). She is very friendly, knows a LOT about ears, and walked with me down to her room. She’s nice and doesn’t wear a white coat like a doctor.

Nadia asked my mum and me about my hearing, my attention and if I ever felt dizzy. Mum said I can’t hear her when she asks me to tidy my room. Yes, funny that Mum. Nadia moved on to telling me all about how ears work and showed me a big model of an ear. Did you know the smallest bones in your body are in your ear? They are called the Hammer, Anvil and Stirrup. They are so small, all three could fit on a penny! There is also a little thing like a tiny, TINY snail called a Cochlea that sends the sounds you hear to your brain. It also has some (even tinier) tubes connected to it (called Semi Circular Canals) to help you balance. When the liquid in them sloshes about as you move your head, they tell your brain and you feel dizzy.

She then used her Otoscope (little camera, looks like a pen) to gently check inside my ears. All of a sudden I could see the inside of my ear on the computer screen in front of me! It looked weird, but really cool. I’ve never seen the inside of my ear before, and it has a load of tiny little hairs in it and gross ear wax. Nadia explained this is perfectly normal, the hairs help clean your ears by trapping dirt and bugs. Sound carries on down to your ear drum. I could see that too. It’s like a thin pink layer of stretched skin that vibrates with sound.

Nadia then used a delicate little tool that she calls her “scoopy tool” or “magic wand” to remove a little bit of wax from my ear. It tickled a little bit. Ear wax is completely normal, but too much of it can cause problems with your hearing, Nadia said. They can also remove pesky wax with a machine called “micro suction” which gently sucks it out. Tickles a little bit too, that, but doesn’t hurt.

Nadia did a hearing test on me. I put a foam ear plug in each ear and she played a series of soft sounds through them. It was quite easy as all I had to do was press a button when I heard them.

As it turns out, you can also hear without using your ears! Nadia put a hairband type thing on me that sat just behind my ears and played some more sounds through it. Amazingly, I could hear them, even though they weren’t being played through my actual ears! This is because sound also travels through tiny vibrations in your skull. Nadia explained that it this test is called an “inner ear test” – it checks all the hearing bits that are behind your ear drum that they can’t see.

Back on with the normal ear plugs again and Nadia tested how well I can hear people talking when there is background noise. I could hear a lady talking and the background noise increased slightly, and I had to repeat to Nadia what the lady was saying, as best I could. I also did a test where two words are said at the same time, one in each ear. I had to tell Nadia both words I heard.

Finally, we played some cool games. I played a game on a tablet called “Feather Squadron” This game is to test something called “Auditory Processing Disorder”, or “APD” for short. This is where your ears have no problem hearing certain sounds, but some children’s brains have trouble in understanding the sounds they are receiving. There were lots of games, for example one was a game where a series of four animal sounds were played and you had to tap on the animals in the order they made the sounds. Another was where coloured birds sit on a wire, a voice names colours and you have to tap on the matching-coloured bird. But, to make it even more fun, the voice gets faster and faster!

After each level the game gives you medals you can collect which is good fun. There was another game where you had to tap on the names of funny creatures in a jungle while a waterfall made a noise in the background.

All in all it was a very relaxed morning. It was fun and interesting, and I came out feeling a lot better about my hearing. I had learnt a few amazing ear facts from Nadia AND had nice clean ears!

To book your child in for a hearing assessment, call 01223 661 399 today to arrange an appointment.