Can Children Suffer From Hearing Loss?
While more common in older adults, hearing loss can affect people of all ages. One of the most vulnerable groups is the pediatric population, as a delay in treatment can lead to problems with a child’s learning and development.
There are three main causes of hearing loss in children.
Congenital factors contribute to children who are born with hearing problems because of genetic issues, prenatal problems or premature birth.
Otitis media (ear infection) is a very common childhood ailment that occurs when fluid accumulates in the middle ear. This can cause difficulty hearing and, in severe cases, may lead to permanent hearing damage.
Acquired hearing loss is triggered by illnesses, physical trauma, exposure to loud noises and medications.
So how do you know if your child is suffering from hearing loss? There are many signs that should prompt you to have your child’s hearing tested ASAP. These include:
- A delay in speech and language
- Failure to respond to loud noises or your voice
- Poor academic performance
- Frequent ear infections
- Disorders associated with hearing loss (i.e. Down syndrome or autism)
- Family history of hearing loss
There are numerous options for treating hearing loss in children, depending upon the type and severity of their condition.
Your child’s Louisville audiologist may take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to ear infections. For those children who seem to have infections all the time, medications or ear tubes may be needed. Ear tubes are inserted surgically and allow fluid to drain from the ears.
Permanent hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids, cochlear implants and other hearing devices that enable a child to communicate.
The earlier you act, the less chance of your child experiencing speech or learning difficulties as the result of a hearing impairment. Contact your Louisville audiologist today if you think your child may be suffering from untreated hearing loss.