If you suspect your child has a hearing loss or a professional has suggested a referral for a hearing assessment, you would seek the services of an audiologist.
The profession of Audiology is governed under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Act, 1991. Under these Acts, audiologists can perform hearing tests and are able to prescribe hearing aids, if needed, without requiring a physician’s referral. In some cases, audiology services are publicly-funded so there is no charge to the parent(s)/caregivers. However, some audiologists may charge a fee if the services are not covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Please read below to find out if you may be eligible to access publicly-funded audiology services. However, it is always important to ask about costs when you are making an appointment.
Is your child eligible for assessment through the Infant Hearing Program?
- If your child is under 3 months of age and you suspect a hearing loss, your child is eligible for a hearing screening from your local infant hearing program. If a REFER result is obtained, a referral to an Infant Hearing Program Audiologist will be made.
- If your child is between 3 and 24 months of age and your doctor states there is a risk factor for permanent hearing impairment such as meningitis or a head injury or there are concerns of a permanent hearing loss, your child is eligible for an audiology assessment by an IHP trained audiologist.
- If your child is over two years of age, a permanent childhood hearing impairment must have been identified by an audiologist. Ask your audiologist to send the audiology assessment confirming a permanent childhood hearing impairment to the Tri-Regional Infant Hearing Program (fax: 905-472-7553) or contact the Service Provider in your area who will assist you in completing the referral.
Services provided by the Infant Hearing Program are publicly-funded so there is no charge to the parent(s)/caregiver(s). If you live in York or Durham Regions, Peterborough, Northumberland or Haliburton Counties or the City of Kawartha Lakes, contact the Tri-Regional Infant Hearing Program at: 1-888-703-5437 and choose option #4 for the Infant Hearing Program
Does your family doctor refer to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) or other Specialist who works at a hospital or clinic that provides audiology services?
If an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist is on-site when the hearing assessment is performed, such as in some hospitals or audiology clinics, the service may be insured under OHIP. In order to access an ENT, a referral from the family physician would be required.
Are there private audiology services available?
A registry of private audiologists practicing in Ontario can be accessed at the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at www.OSLA.on.ca. It is important to ask if they have experience with children. You may wish to ask if they are an Infant Hearing Program trained audiologist.