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Department of General Medicine

Caring for Hearing In Children (CHIC) Clinic

  • The CHIC clinic provides coordinated medical and developmental care, including assessment and management of infants and children with permanent hearing loss (sensorineural/auditory neuropathy/permanent conductive e.g. microtia).

    The clinic aims for families to access ongoing care close to their homes wherever possible. The clinic may offer ongoing care and surveillance for families who cannot access a community paediatrician, those with complex needs, and those who are not engaged in early intervention services.

    The clinic aims to engage and upskill community paediatricians in caring for deaf and hard of hearing children while offering a consultative service. The clinic supports training and research activities through the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne.

    Location and time

    • Specialty Clinic A1 (ground floor) weekly on Wednesday mornings

    Inclusion

    • Babies/children aged 0 to 17 years with confirmed PERMANENT hearing loss
    • The clinic does not see children with conductive hearing loss without a sensorineural component except for babies with microtia and other exceptional circumstances (to be decided on a case-by-case basis)
    • Ongoing review appointments may be offered to families who
      • Do not already have a paediatrician in the community
      • Have complex needs
      • Are not engaged in early intervention services
    • Under most circumstances, this clinic is not available to children who live in a catchment area of another paediatric hearing service.  If your child resides in Sunshine, Ballarat, Monash or Geelong, please refer them to their corresponding service: 
      • Barwon Early Assessment of Child Hearing Clinic (BEACH), University Hospital Geelong
        • Fax to (03) 4215 1685 or email to Health.Wing3@barwonhealth.org.au
        • Address to Dr Marguerite Fulton / Dr Lawrence Gray
      • Ballarat Base Hospital Specialist Clinics
        • Fax to (03) 5320 4822 and address to Dr Duaa Gaafar
      • Monash Children's Hospital Paediatric Hearing Loss Investigation Clinic (PHLIC)
        • Email to scmonashchildrens@monashhealth.org or fax to 8572 3007, or submit through HealthLink
        • Address to Dr Talia Maayan / Dr Saniya Kazi
      • Sunshine Investigation of Newborns and Children with Hearing Impairment Clinic (SINCH)
        • Fax to (03) 9055 2125 or email to wandcclinics@wh.org.au
        • Address to Dr Brendan McCann

    Referral and appointments

    • A medical referral AND the child’s audiology report are required. Fax to (03) 9345 5034.
      Please note we cannot process the referral without both documents.
    • Please clearly state the referral is for the CHIC Clinic and include Dr Valerie Sung/Dr Georgie Paxton in the referral details.
    • Once referral is received and processed (usually 1-4 weeks), an appointment is made and a letter with details of the appointment is sent to the family.
    • For urgent referrals, please email chic@rch.org.au
    • For enquiries about appointments, please call (03) 9345 6180

    Wait times

    • Priority is given to:
      1. Newly diagnosed families who have not had any medical assessment
      2. Children who need urgent intervention/investigations
    • Newly diagnosed families who have already seen an ENT specialist will generally be offered an appointment on a non-urgent basis (e.g. after behavioural testing)
    • Wait times will vary – please email chic@rch.org.au to enquire for updated information.  Please expect a wait time of 6+ months.

    What is the appointment for?

    You will see a child doctor (paediatrician) with specialist skills and knowledge about children with permanent hearing loss. The purposes of the CHIC appointment are to:

    • Offer your child a check of their general health and development.
    • Discuss the role of medical tests that are available to you, if you wish, to look for the cause of your child's hearing loss.
    • Discuss the different services, supports and follow up that might be helpful for your child's ongoing health and development.

    What to prepare before appointments

    • We encourage all families to sign up to My RCH Portal. My RCH Portal is a way for The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) to put you at the centre of your child's care. It is a website and mobile app that gives patients, parents or legal guardians access to information in the RCH medical record, when and where it suits you. For tips to sign up.
    • Once you have signed up to My RCH Portal you can fill in some online forms at home before the appointment. This helps doctors to focus on the needs of each family at each appointment, so you can discuss what matters most to you and your child. It helps make the appointment more efficient and may reduce the number of appointments required for the medical assessment. You can provide information like:
      • Your consent for the RCH team to communicate with your child's hearing and health providers and exchange information (e.g. reports from your child's audiologist, early intervention therapist, nurse, teacher or other specialists)
      • Your child's birth, hearing and medical history.
      • Your pregnancy and your family.
      • How you and your child are feeling.
      • Details of your child's treating teams and services.
    • Please make sure you have the following available for your appointment:
      • GP referral (for all new patients, and every 12 months for review patients)
      • Audiology (hearing) reports.
      • Speech/language/psychology/academic assessment reports.

    What happens at appointments

    • Your appointment may be in person at the hospital or by video telehealth.
    • If your appointment is by telehealth (online, via your computer, phone or ipad), you will access it via Telehealth 
    • The doctor will assess and discuss the child’s medical and developmental needs, and refer to the appropriate follow-up services if necessary.
    • The doctor will liaise with external services (e.g. audiology and early intervention services) to enable holistic management of each family.
    • A member of the CHIC team may talk to families about the research initiatives available to them. 
    • You will be offered to connect with a parent mentor from the Deaf Children Australia Parent Mentor Program.
    • Families of newborns with newly diagnosed hearing loss may be able to attend the 'CHIC New Diagnosis Clinic' which runs once every four weeks. These appointments run for 1 to 2 hours, and the family will:
      • See an ENT specialist and a paediatric fellow together in one consultation, and
      • Be offered to see an audiologist from Hearing Australia.

    Contact

    The CHIC Team

    To learn about how the CHIC clinic works with our partners, please watch the video below:

     Resources