Why do so many children get their first hearing aids during the early school years?

Harvey Dillon, David Nilsson


Despite the effectiveness of new-born screening in Australia, considerably more children receive their first hearing aid(s) during the first four years of school than receive them during the first year of life. While most of these late-fitted children have mild hearing loss in at least one ear, a substantial proportion have more loss than this.  This presentation will use a recent questionnaire sent to these families, and information in the Australian Hearing database, to examine why these children received their hearing aids when they did and what effect the hearing aids have had on them.




Harvey Dillon joined the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) in 1979 and until 1986 he performed research into speech discrimination testing, audiological testing in sound fields, speech processing for hearing aids, hearing aid fitting methods, and the acoustics of hearing aid coupling systems. From 1986 to 1990 he held various positions (including Chief Engineer and Development Manager) in the operational area of NAL (now called Australian Hearing). From 1990 he headed the Hearing Aid Research Section of NAL and in 2000 became the Director of NAL.

After completing an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, Dr Dillon was awarded a PhD for research into psychoacoustics. His current personal research interests are centred on the assessment and remediation of auditory processing disorders and electrophysiological assessment methods, hearing assessment and methods for evaluating the success of hearing rehabilitation.

Dr Dillon has lectured extensively in the areas of acoustics, psychoacoustics, and hearing aids in the audiology program at Macquarie University, at which institution he is an adjunct professor. He is the author or co-author of over 200 scientific articles, twelve book chapters, and the author of a comprehensive text book on hearing aids, now in its second edition, that is used throughout the world. He has been closely associated with the various NAL prescription rules for hearing aids, COSI outcomes evaluation, the trainable hearing aid, the LiSN-S test of spatial processing disorder, and clinical cortical response testing of infants.
He frequently presents invited and keynote addresses in the area of hearing at international conferences.