Hearing loss in children

Children up to the age of 16 presenting with suspected hearing loss.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Hearing loss for more than 4 weeks
  • Speech delay suspected to be secondary to hearing loss

Red flags

Patient with any of the following in addition to hearing loss need to be referred to ENT

  • Combination of nose or throat issues


Primary care management

Hearing loss up to 4 weeks may follow upper respiratory tract infections or acute suppurative otitis media. In the absence of red flags watchful waiting is appropriate in these cases.


Referral Criteria

Refer to Paediatric Audiology

Patients with:

  • Hearing loss for more than 4 weeks
  • No gross abnormality of tympanic membranes

The majority of these patients will have glue ear and are appropriate for the paediatric audiology pathway.

Refer to ENT

Patients with:

  • Abnormal tympanic membranes
  • Nose or throat issues in addition to hearing loss

Referral Instructions

Paediatric Audiology referrals

Audiology referrals should be sent to Chime Audiology as paper referrals as this service is not provided on e-Referrals:

  • Audiology Department, RD&E Hospital Wonford.
  • Tel: 01392 402 223/6
ENT referrals

Are made via e-Referral Service:

  • Speciality: Children's & Adolescent Services
  • Clinic Type: ENT
  • Service: DRSS-Eastern-Child & Adolescent Services-Devon CCG - 15N

Referral Forms

DRSS Referral forms

Supporting Information


This guideline has been developed by Royal Devon and Exeter Healthcare Foundation Trust based on local guidelines.

NICE surgical management of otitis media with effusion in children CG60

Pathway Group

This guideline has been signed off by the Eastern Locality on behalf of NEW Devon CCG.

Publication date: 02 December 2016


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