Ear, nose and throat health in early childhood, and hearing screening in the early years

1 May 2014

From earaches to tonsillitis, children can suffer from a variety of issues that need prompt attention. The impact of a problem with the ear, nose and/or throat can impede everything from children’s ability to build relationships with other children and adults, get a good night’s rest, and eat a meal.

As the weather grows cooler and children and families spend more time indoors, the incidence of ear, nose and throat issues is set to rise. This edition of Community Paediatric Review provides an overview of some of the more common ear, nose and throat issues that you might encounter in your work, together with ideas about how you can help to effectively manage these issues.


Helping babies and children to start their lives and continue to grow and develop with the best hearing possible has important implications for their development. Early detection of any problems with hearing gives children the best chance for good speech and language development, good communication ability, and future educational and vocational success.

Approximately one in every thousand babies in Australia is born with some degree of permanent hearing loss in both ears (VIHSP, 2014). While a profound hearing loss is often quite noticeable, mild and unilateral hearing losses can be more difficult to detect. Any hearing loss that is not detected can go on to have a significant impact on children’s developmental trajectory.


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