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8 month check-up: Hearing test

(25 Posts)
Monnie Mon 13-May-02 16:33:26

DS has just had his hearing retested as he did not respond fully at the 8 month check-up test (he had a cold).

Today, the test was still not very good(he now has a chest infection) so he has been referred to the hospital for yet more tests.

HV said not to worry as he is making all the correct noises and responds to the majority of the sounds. It was the whispers and very light rattles he didn't fully react to, he just turned his head to the side instead of fully round to the source of the noise.

Anyway, once I left the clinic, I was quite upset as I have all sorts of scenarios going through my head.

So, was wondering if any other Mumsnetters had babies who had to have more than two hearing tests and subsequently found out that it was to do with colds, wax build-up or any other reasons (just to stop me from panicking!)


emsiewill Mon 13-May-02 16:53:04

I had exactly this experience, went to the hospital, they talked about glue ear and said they would call me back in 6 months - when I went back, they said nothing was wrong (apart from the colds that she'd had at the other tests), and looked at me like I was stupid when I asked about glue ear. In other words, it depends who sees your child, and what their "thing" is (I've found that lots of doctors seem to have their own personal "thing" that they love to diagnose for everyone!). My dd had loads of colds and things in her first 18 months, and I'm sure that was what was causing it, as well as not wanting to co-operate with the tests that the hv did. We've heard (excuse the pun) nothing since (she is now nearly 3), and her hearing is definately fine - she always hears me creeping around the house at 6am, trying to get my breakfast in peace

Demented Mon 13-May-02 18:13:45

Monnie, everything will probably be all right. My DS passed the 8 month hearing check on the second attempt. My HV then had concerns about his speech when he was 2 and sent him for a more detailed hearing test at the hospital. By the time they saw him (in the summer) his hearing was perfect and as he had been full of the cold all winter said that any hearing loss would be due to having the cold. However this winter has been alot better as DS is now 3 and can to an extent clear the cattarr (sp?) himself. Aparently once they can blow their own nose it stops the cattarr travelling up the eustacian tubes to the ears. I feel for you because you can't help but worry but would imagine everything will be OK once the colds have passed .

leese Mon 13-May-02 18:22:34

Monnie - my sisters ds has just 'failed' his second hearing test, and has also been referred to the hospital. My sister isn't worried about him (I wouldn't be either) - he's a bright, alert little lad, who always responds noise in the usual environment - it's just that he got so bored at that test! It is a bit antiquated, and I would've thought they may have come up with something a little more technical by now! He just got bored sitting on a lap, enjoyed looking at all the toys, and got fed up when someone tricked him to look round, only to find nothing worthwhile there to see! No wonder he got fed up - maybe this says more about the ones that 'fail' than 'pass'! Don't worry Monnie.

aloha Mon 13-May-02 19:19:36

I recently heard on Radio 4 that there is a much better test that gets children much, much younger and so improves their whole outlook if they do have hearing problems, and doesn't frighten mums half to death by giving 'false positives', but guess what - it's too expensive for the NHS! The Royal National Institute for The Deaf are trying to promote it. They said the current test was pretty useless, and just doesn't work of the kids are bored/tired etc

Monnie Mon 13-May-02 19:47:02

Thanks for all your responses.

I must admit, DS did look a little bored. He sort of looked to the side and probably thought that what was in front of him was by far more interesting.

DH, mum and sis all say the same things that you have all said.

DS is very bright and alert, and as the HV says is making all the right vocal sounds, so we'll wait and see.

manna Mon 13-May-02 21:41:03

aloha - There is a fab new test, which they are trialling exclusively at St. Marys in London, I think because it's a teaching hospital. DS was tested at birth by a very sophisticated thing that made him look like a mad scientist! I was very greatful to be given it so unexpectedly. I wonder, if anyone was worried, could they phone up and ask if they could have their baby tested? It was very straightforward and quick - they just came to the ward every day and tested all new babies.

Zoya Mon 13-May-02 21:50:17

Monnie, just to add to the words of reassurance here: I had exactly the same experience as you with dd, worried away while feeling pretty sure there was nothing wrong, and indeed when she went for a more fancy test at hospital, her hearing was fine. Like your son, she reacted to all the noises, just didn't make the required reaction after the first one - cocked her head to the side, indicating to me she'd got the direction right, and carried on with what she was doing.

A health professional friend of mine made the rather cruel comment that the standard test can't cope with babies who are cleverer than the people administering it...

GillW Mon 13-May-02 22:06:37

We had a similar experience - my son "failed" the test because once he realised that the person in front of him wasn't actually going to give him the toy she was waving at him, he thought the person he could hear doing something behind him was a lot more interesting, and kept turning round to see what she was doing before she had a chance to make the noises. They marked him down as "failed" for everything although they didn't even do most of the test, which really worried me as it's now on his record for ever, and there was no note of explanation to say that they'd aborted the test rather than him actually failing it.

Can't really see the retest being any different, as if anything he's now even more active and into everything than he was a month ago.

lou33 Mon 13-May-02 23:47:01

My son is 14 months and has failed 3 tests now, number 4 is due in a couple of weeks. The first 2 were as most have described here, except my son wasn't turning at all to the left. The third time they tested him he was sent to an audiology unit and they were able to measure if there was any pressure or fluid behind his eardrum. Turned out he had masses of fluid there, so now he has to go back again this month to see if the fluid has gone down.

Interestingly enough they were less concerned about the fluid (as that is likely to go away), but more concerned that when he did finally react to sounds from the left (very loud ones) he turned the wrong way.

I think that the basic hearing tests are rubbish personally, so I am glad he is having further investigations based on something more than the odd rattle and a few toys being waved around by a couple of strangers! I have my fingers crossed he will be fine, though he still seems to have no hearing from that ear.

Alibubbles Tue 14-May-02 13:32:16

I wouldn't worry about it too much, as long as you know he responds to sounds and his name etc. My H.V says that 80% of babies looked after in day nurseries fail their hearing test at 8 months. She says they have learned to shut out noise around them and only hear what they want to. That's how they can sleep in a nursery that dosen't put them in a quiet room without other chidren around.

I also think the 8 month hearing check ( the one with two Hv's sitting opposite each other with baby on mums lap) is about of a farce, the slightest distraction in the room especially a toddler and baby looks elsewhere!

GillW Wed 15-May-02 12:38:20

Well what a surprise - DS got bored with watching the lady with the toy again, and decided to turn and watch the person behind him instead.....

So they marked him down as failed for everything again - even for the noises he did react to before he got bored - by crossing through the ticks he'd already got. Grrrrr! Why would they want to do that? Because they don't like a "shades of grey" result and want to record all negatives if they can't get a 100% positive?

So now we've been told that "his test results suggest he can't hear at all" (and this a child who hears his Dad's car pulling onto the drive and makes a dash for the door.....)

Next stop the audiology department - I just hope they've got some more scientific tests (or at least someone to conduct the test who's better at keeping the attention of a very active child who hates to sit still for more than 2 seconds at a time) because I'm certain that there's absolutely nothing wrong with his hearing.

Tillysmummy Wed 15-May-02 12:40:54

Gill don't they go at all on the questions they asked you like does he respond to his name / your voice etc ?

gillymac Wed 15-May-02 12:47:54

I had a simmilar experience to this as my son (now aged almost 5) failed three 8 month hearing tests (2 at the local clinic and one with GP). He was sent to the paediatric audiology dept and tested there - I think he was about 16 months by this time - and failed the test there miserably as well. The audiologist told me that he was "profoundly deaf" and then started talking about hearing aids and special schools. All of which depressed me no end, as you can imagine. Despite all of this, I felt in my heart of hearts that my son was fine although obviously with "experts" telling me otherwise, I did begin to have my doubts.
The only help they could give was to say they would re-test him in a year, which due to their incompetence turned out to be over 18 months.
Surprise, surprise, when he was tested then, my son's hearing was perfect. Obviously he just hadn't been "interested" at any of the previous tests.
I feel very strongly that such an obviously flawed test is taken as gospel by health professionals who can then make such sweeping pronouncements as telling parents that their child is profoundly deaf. I very much hope that this new an accurate test comes in nationwide very soon.
What I would say to you, Monnie, is that you know your child and if, in your heart you believe there isn't a problem, then you're more than likely right.
Hope this and all the other comments have helped to put your mind at rest.
P.S. the audiologists did apologise for their earlier mistake so I suppose that's something.

GillW Wed 15-May-02 16:49:19

Tillysmummy - they didn't even ASK if he responds to his name / my voice (he does by the way) - just looked at the previous results which had been marked down as "fail" because he wouldn't concentrate long enough for them distract him.

He's chattering away (mama, dada, bebe, etc) - and loves anything which makes a noise (and on his musical toys he'll wait until the tunes stop before hitting the button to start them again). Surely he wouldn't be doing that if he couldn't hear?

gillymac - it must have been dreadful to hear them talking about special schools when you were convinced that your child was perfectly ok. Was the audiology department test the same as the HV one or did they do something different? Seems there's at least an 8 month wait for audiology appointments so we've been told "don't worry about it for now" - as if that's possible. Eight months is an awfully long time if a child really does have problems which could hold them back developmentally. Does anyone know if we could get these tests done privately rather than have to wait that long?

Azzie Wed 15-May-02 18:59:58

GillW, I'd be very interested to know how long it's OK to leave a child with hearing problems before it seriously affects them. My local health authority no longer do routine hearing tests at 8 months - neither of my 2 kids have ever been tested, not that I ever thought either had a problem (and both were early talkers so they must have been OK). It does bother me that this no longer gets done, though.

JJ Wed 15-May-02 19:05:08

GillW, we had worries about my son's hearing at 3 months. His ENT doctor is a great guy and very moderate. He has a private practice in London and if you'd like the name, just let me know. It's not necessary to get a referral.

gillymac Wed 15-May-02 21:06:19

GillW - as far as I can remember, the audiology test was pretty simmilar to the HV one, in that they made noises and looked for reaction. However it was a bit more 'scientific' with the audiologist hidden from my son, observing his reactions from behind a two-way mirror. Also the noises were electronic ones which could be monitored for frequency, volume etc rather that the sounds that the HV made, eg voice and rattles etc. Whenever my son acknowledged a sound he was rewarded by this strange teddy whose eyes lit up with red lights - bit scary.

JJ Wed 15-May-02 23:42:49

Hi again. With my son's tests, they did one that checked that the ear drum itself was moving (checking for gunk in the ear canal) and one that checked that the bones in his middle ear were banging together properly. There was no necessary response from him for a positive test-- it was just the things in his ears that they were measuring. If you get a check from my son's doctor, he'll do those tests as part of the initial visit, I believe. Actually, he did them for my youngest at my eldest's visit (who did have serious hearing difficulties due to glue ear, but was 3 at the time and I was just a bit paranoid about my baby). We scheduled a follow up visit, but everything was and is fine (he checked again).

SueW Thu 16-May-02 09:30:18

JJ, glad to hear all is well.

GillW Thu 16-May-02 12:44:29

Talked to the people at DS's nursery this morning to see if they'd noticed any signs he might have a hearing problem, and they said definately not. They obviously see a lot of children, (and see DS every day, not just for 10 minutes like the HV's who did the test) and would notice if there was anything out of the ordinary. They actually said that in their experience nearly all children who are active and mobile before they take the standard hearing test fail it - which made me feel a bet better about the whole thing.

Bozza Tue 21-May-02 21:16:55

My DS had the hearing test from the health visitor 3 times. Apparently they're only supposed to give it twice but because he had a cold once gave him a concession. Everyone tells me that his hearing is fine but I'm not sure how well they observe him - and perhaps rush to offer reassurance without true consideration of the facts. DH and I agree that it seems variable. He has since been for the more sophisticated tests at the Child Health Centre twice and both times been unsatisfactory. If he is not better in July he will be referred to ENT. I cannot believe that he will be better.

He has had colds one after another - starting at the age of 3 weeks (and that one lasted 4 weeks). I feel for him a bit because I also had mild hearing problems and remember all the hassle of being dragged round audiologist and speech therapists ad infinitum until they decided they could do nothing when I was 16. However at 15 months he has 4/5 words so thats not too bad.

However my main point would be that although the health visitor tests are patently set up for failure (they used to draw the blinds, take the clock off the wall etc for DS), may well-meaning friends/relations can be a bit too quick to offer false reassurance IMO.

GillW Tue 21-May-02 22:41:02

I phoned and asked to speak to the HV who did the test to find out why they'd crossed off and marked as failed all the things he'd passed up to the point he got bored - and they said that they like to run through it twice to be sure about the responses. They also said that the (different) HV who told me the results looked like he couldn't hear at all was new and had probably not realised about the requirement they have for a double positive - and that there was absolutely no any question of him being totally deaf. She even said that 95% of those they refer turn out to have absolutely no hearing problems at all. Am at least a little happier now that it's quite likely to just be the way they do the test that's the problem.

Cawthorne Sun 26-May-02 13:47:39

my ds has jsut failed his hearing, we were reassured by the GP who said at any one time 30% of under fives are deaf in one or other ear because of residues from colds.

lou33 Sun 26-May-02 14:39:27

Hurray for me! My 15month old ds has finally passed a hearing test at the 4th attempt! All he needs now is to pass one more and he is officially a fully hearing baby - yipee!

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