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Paediatric Otitis media (Audiology)

PAEDIATRIC

If any of the following are present or suspected, please refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary) or seek emergent medical advice if in a remote region.


Adult

  • Hearing loss
    • Sudden loss or sudden deterioration of hearing (sudden = within 72 hours) (British Academy of Audiology, 2016)
  • Otitis media
    • Any suspicions of the complications of ASOM i.e. Mastoiditis (proptosis of pinna), meningitis etc
  • Vertigo/Vestibular
    • Recent sudden onset with neurological symptoms
  • Facial Nerve Palsy
    • Sudden onset facial weakness

Paediatric

  • Paediatric Hearing loss
    • Sudden loss or deterioration
  • Paediatric Otitis media
    • Any suspicions Mastoiditis (proptosis of pinna), meningitis or other complication of ASOM
    • Trauma
    • New onset facial nerve palsy
  • Other referrals to emergency not covered within these conditions (Paediatric)
    • Foreign body
    • ENT conditions with associated neurological signs e.g. facial nerve palsy, profound vertigo and/or sudden deterioration in sensorineural hearing
    • Acute and/or complicated mastoiditis
    • Auricular haematoma
    • Significant head injury
    • Congenital abnormality of the head/neck
    • Meningitis/encephalitis
  • Refer to Paediatric ENT CPC, Health pathways or local guidelines
  • If child wears a hearing aid, consider impact of the condition on the ability to wear the device
  • Consider speech/language development, behaviour and educational issues
  • Consider auto-inflation for management of middle ear effusion for children likely to cooperate (NICE Clinical Guideline, 2008)
  • Management of environmental factors

Queensland public hospitals do not dispense conventional or standard hearing aids. Aids for children, veterans, pensioners, ADF or NDIS participants with hearing needs are fitted by local audiologists via application to the Australian Government Hearing Services Program (Hearing service program). For non-eligible patients with a symmetrical mild, moderate or severe hearing loss, refer to a local private hearing aid provider.

Queensland Health Audiologists provide diagnostic hearing assessments which may result in a recommendation for hearing aids and/or an ENT opinion, but not the fitting of hearing aids.

Clinical resources

Patient resources

Minimum Referral Criteria

  • Category 1
    (appointment within 30 calendar days)
    • No category 1 criteria
  • Category 2
    (appointment within 90 calendar days)
    • Suspicion of cholesteatoma
    • Painful discharging ears despite topical antibiotic (first line) and/or PO antibiotic therapy (second line) for 5 days
    • Children with physical/structural/ medical comorbidities e.g. cleft palate, craniofacial abnormalities, diabetes, SNHL
    • Middle ear conditions with no previous audiology
    • ASOM with ear drum perforation
  • Category 3
    (appointment within 365 calendar days)
    • Recurrent AOM where audiology has been performed in last 12 months.
    • Chronic perforations that have had previous ENT management

1. Reason for request Indicate on the referral

  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can't order, or the patient can't afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary

2. Essential referral information Referral will be returned without this

  • Medical management to date
  • Description of
    • onset, duration, frequency, severity
    • previous ENT history
  • Social modifiers i.e effect on home schooling, out of home residence
  • Developmental milestone

3. Additional referral information Useful for processing the referral

  • Family history of childhood hearing loss in patient’s parents or siblings
  • Speech and language or other developmental delays including behavioural issues and learning difficulties
  • Syndromes known to be related to hearing loss including Down syndrome
  • Ear swab M/C/S results
  • Previous audiology assessment results if applicable/available
  • Results of Health Assessment for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander People

4. Request

Patient's Demographic Details

  • Full name (including aliases)
  • Date of birth
  • Residential and postal address
  • Telephone contact number/s – home, mobile and alternative
  • Medicare number (where eligible)
  • Name of the parent or caregiver (if appropriate)
  • Preferred language and interpreter requirements
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Referring Practitioner Details

  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Contact details – telephone, fax, email
  • Provider number
  • Date of referral
  • Signature

Relevant clinical information about the condition

  • Presenting symptoms (evolution and duration)
  • Physical findings
  • Details of previous treatment (including systemic and topical medications prescribed) including the course and outcome of the treatment
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Details of any associated medical conditions which may affect the condition or its treatment (e.g. diabetes), noting these must be stable and controlled prior to referral
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Drug allergies
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use

Reason for request

  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can't order, or the patient can't afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary

Clinical modifiers

  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on education
  • Impact on home
  • Impact on activities of daily living
  • Impact on ability to care for others
  • Impact on personal frailty or safety
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Other relevant information

  • Willingness to have surgery (where surgery is a likely intervention)
  • Choice to be treated as a public or private patient
  • Compensable status (e.g. DVA, Work Cover, Motor Vehicle Insurance, etc.)
  • Please note that where appropriate and where available, the referral may be streamed to an associated public allied health and/or nursing service.  Access to some specific services may include initial assessment and management by associated public allied health and/or nursing, which may either facilitate or negate the need to see the public medical specialist.

  • A change in patient circumstance (such as condition deteriorating, or becoming pregnant) may affect the urgency categorisation and should be communicated as soon as possible.

  • Please indicate in the referral if the patient is unable to access mandatory tests or investigations as they incur a cost or are unavailable locally.