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Deaf Awareness Week: 18- 24 September 2006

15 September 2006:

Deaf Awareness Week: 18- 24 September 2006

Hawke’s Bay organisations which provide services for children with hearing loss have teamed up to promote Deaf Awareness Week.

Spokesperson for the group, public health nurse, Cath Hedley, said early detection of hearing loss is essential to prevent problems with speech, language, learning and behaviour. “If children can’t hear well, they can’t learn to talk well”

She said all children have a routine ear check at pre-school. “Checks are carried out at kindergartens, Te Kohanga Reo, Playcentres, Punanga Reo and other early childhood centres.

“This is a physical check of the ear canal, ear drum and middle ear only – it’s not a hearing test. This screening test is called Tymopanometry, and will help identify problems such as glue ear.

“It is possible for children to pass this check and still have an inner ear hearing loss. To have a full hearing test, the child needs to be referred to the hospital audiology clinic,” Cath Hedley said.

There are two main types of hearing loss:

1. Conductive hearing loss: caused by a problem in the middle ear (glue ear) or a problem in the outer ear (e.g. wax in the ear canal) These problems can usually be treated by a doctor, ear nurse or ear specialist.

2. Sensorineural (inner ear) deafness: This is a permanent condition, which can’t be treated medically, but can benefit from having hearing aids fitted. Parents don’t have to pay for children’s hearing aids as they are government-funded. Most children in Hawke’s Bay have their hearing aids fitted at the hospital audiology clinic.

Cath Hedley said common signs of hearing problems include a sore ear (rubbing or pulling ear) balance problems, runny ears, poor speech (for example a two year old should be putting two or three words together) behaviour problems, or your child doesn’t appear to be listening.


Where to go if you are concerned about your child’s hearing?

Talk to the vision/hearing technician, doctor or health nurse and ask for an audiology referral.
You can also talk to Plunket, Te Kupenga Hauora (who are the Tamariki Ora Wellchild Provider) 835 1840, Ministry of Education, Special Education 870 9750, Vision & Hearing Technicians – Flaxmere 879 9440, Napier 834 1815 or Wairoa 838 7099.

Does the District Health Board carry out screening?

Yes the DHB has a screening service. There are four DHB vision-hearing technicians. Two in Hastings/CHB, one in Napier and one in Wairoa.

They routinely visit preschools, playcentres, Punanga Reo, Kindergartens and other Early Childhood Centres. Any middle ear disorders detected are then referred to the DHB’s audiology outpatient clinic where hearing tests are carried out and hearing aids can be fitted.

Who carries out screening at Te Kohanga Reo?

Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri have been providing independent, quality health care to the Hawke’s Bay community since 1994.

Their mobile Vision and Hearing Technicians screen for Glue Ear in children aged 9 months to 5 years old. This screening currently occurs in 60 Te Kohanga Reo and 1 Early Childhood Centre with 1000+ children per school term being chedked.

Their geographical area ranges from Waikaremoana across to Mahia in Wairoa and down to Takapau in Central Hawke’s Bay.

If problems are identified, Te Kupenga can refer on to the most appropriate specialist service.


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