Sydney Local Health District is offering FREE hearing tests at Early Childhood Health Centres in the Canterbury and Leichhardt Local Government Areas for children aged 4 years 9 months and older.

If you would like to book an appointment for a free Sound Scouts hearing test at one of the Early Childhood Health Centres, please phone 95159547

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No child should be held back by hearing issues

Created in collaboration with the National Acoustic Laboratories

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

The Sydney Local Health District is offering free hearing tests, click here for more information.

Sound Scouts is a game designed to test the hearing of children especially around the time they start school. With hearing issues a common cause of speech and learning problems it is important for all children to have their hearing checked to ensure they are able to learn and socialise. If children struggle to hear, they'll also struggle to learn.

Enable your child to thrive

Good hearing is critical for learning and socialising. Your child can't always tell if they are having trouble hearing so a simple hearing check is the best way to be sure.

A trusted solution

Sound Scouts has been developed in collaboration with the National Acoustic Laboratories, a world leader in hearing assessment and rehabilitation. It is recommended by Australian Hearing and is supported by NSW Health.

Time effective

Taking time off work to attend medical appointments is both inconvenient and costly. Sound Scouts enables children's hearing to be checked in any quiet place at a time that's suitable for the whole family.

A clinically validated health App, Sound Scouts incorporates the science of a hearing test into a fun game. Children focus on the story and respond to the sound cues in the game. They don't even know they are being tested. The Sound Scouts App sends a report directly to your e-mail, and health care professionals can view results via the Sound Scouts Clinical Portal.

Sound Scouts offers:

  • Convenience of at home testing
  • Affordability
  • Easy set up and supervision
  • Game play that helps children stay focused

Get it now on iOS (iPad only) and Android Tablets*

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play
*Currently available in Australia.

Why use Sound Scouts?

1. Why is it important to test?

One in six Australians suffer from hearing loss. If you think your child is having difficulty hearing clearly, you are not alone!

Children use their hearing to learn about the world around them and develop communication skills. This in turn affects their relationships with family and friends, their education and their later employment. The impact of hearing loss on a developing child can be significant, so the sooner issues are detected, and treatment or management is provided, the better chance a child has of living a normal life.

What are some signs of hearing loss?

  • You can hear, but don't understand
  • You find it hard to hear in noisy places
  • You have difficulty understanding people unless they are facing you
  • You think people mumble
  • You don't always hear the doorbell or the phone
  • You need to turn the TV up louder than other people

2. Why use Sound Scouts?

Testing children's hearing by traditional methods can be challenging. Pure tone audiometry is the standard test for children who are school ready. In this test the child listens to a range of beeps and whistles called 'pure tones' and indicates when they can hear them. Testing by this method is dependent on a skilled audiologist providing one-on-one interaction to make a diagnosis.

Sound Scouts can be used in the home, and tests for hearing loss and hearing issues. The game has been designed to detect conductive loss, sensorineural loss and central auditory processing disorder, which is said to affect about two percent of children. Once detected, CAPD may be treated or managed (depending on the type of CAPD). Refer to NAL for more information regarding CAPD.

The advantage of testing hearing using a game is that the child remains engaged throughout the testing process. Parents can oversee the test and receive an early indication of their child's hearing health.

The dialogue and key action words used in the game have been carefully selected to ensure they fit within the comprehension range of a five-year-old child.

Most importantly the test is fun and children don't even know they are being tested!

3. How does Sound Scouts work?

There are five simple steps in the testing process. Step 3 should be completed with the assistance of an adult with known good hearing, but the test does more than just compare the child's hearing to the adult's hearing. (Adults can check their hearing over the phone through Telescreen Freecall 1800 826 500)

Step 1. Prepare your child for the test by ensuring they have eaten and been to the bathroom. Ensure the room where the game will be played is quiet and free from distractions.

Step 2. Plug a set of headphones into your iPad or Android tablet. Choose the best quality pair of headphones available.

Step 3. Complete the in-game set-up process by completing the 'Your Profile' and 'Child's Information' sections. It is important to include your child's age, as this will be taken into account in calculating the final results. An email address is also required so the test results can be automatically sent to the parents or caregivers. Results can also be viewed on the device at the end of the test.

Once the set-up process has been completed an adult is required to complete a short activity to assist with testing. When done, invite your child to sit at the iPad or Android tablet with headphones at the ready.

Explain to your child that they are going to play a game where they will need to follow instructions and click on the screen where necessary. Encourage them to listen carefully.

With your child now wearing the headphones, you should observe game-play to ensure they are playing the game correctly. Prompts to listen carefully may be necessary.

Step 4. Your child now plays the game. The game takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. An Internet connection is required to process and email the results on completion of the test.

Step 5. Parents should review the report sent to them via email. If testing indicates a problem, parents should seek advice from their doctor. Some conditions, such as ear infections, can be treated. If the hearing loss is not due to infection your doctor will refer you to an audiologist or ear specialist for expert help and advice.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have more than one child who you would like to test, it is important that the second child does not watch the testing process. Familiarity with the game may alter the results.

FINALLY adults should ideally play the complete game prior to their children so they understand how it works.

4. What do I need to play Sound Scouts?
  • Sound Scouts should be played with a good quality pair of headphones or earbuds.

  • An internet connection is required to download the game, and process and email results. An internet connection is not required to play the game, but results will not be available until a connection is established.

  • An adult with known good hearing is required to calibrate Sound Scouts. This must be done at the beginning of each new session.

  • The activities involved in Sound Scouts require your child to identify colours and shapes. If they have trouble doing this it will affect their results.
5. What happens if a test is interrupted?

Sound Scouts must be completed with as few distractions as possible. If your child is distracted or interrupted during the test this can affect their result. In these circumstances, we recommend the test be abandoned and replayed at another time (preferably after a few days). You will not be charged for abandoned sessions.

6. What happens after the test?

After the test, a results report will be emailed to the address provided. If a hearing issue has been detected and reported, you can use the Sound Scouts report as a referral for Australian Hearing services.

Regardless of the results, if you think your child has a hearing issue the first step is to see your doctor. Some conditions, such as ear infections, can be treated. If the hearing loss is permanent your doctor will refer your child to an audiologist or ear specialist for expert help and advice.

Australian Hearing is funded by the Australian Government to look after the hearing needs of children who have a permanent or long-term hearing loss.

The audiologists work closely with families and other professionals involved in the care of the child so that together they can help the child reach their potential.

Australian Hearing services include:

  • fitting and updating of the latest technology devices.
  • evaluation of each child's performance with hearing devices.
  • regular monitoring of each child's hearing and hearing device benefit
  • providing batteries, replacement parts and upgrade processors for young children and young people using cochlear implants.
  • providing on-the-spot repairs for the majority of devices. A postal service is also available for batteries and repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

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