Hearing loss isn’t confined to older adults: children of all ages can experience a loss of hearing. Roughly 3 out of 1000 babies are born with hearing loss, and its prevalence is increasing in adolescents. Noise-induced hearing loss is largely responsible for this increase.
If you suspect your child is having difficulty hearing, talk to your Louisville audiologist as soon as possible. Delaying can have a strong effect on a child’s learning and development.
Child Hearing Tests
There are a number of signs that should prompt you to have your child’s hearing tested. These include:
Birth to 4 months
- Does your child stir at loud noises or startle at loud noises?
- Does your child seem to calm down or visually respond (smiling or cooing) to your voice?
4 months to 9 months
- Does your child turn their eyes or head toward sounds?
- Does your child smile when spoken to?
- Does your child make babbling sounds?
9 months to 15 months
- Does your child respond to their name?
- Does your child say “ma-ma” or “da-da”?
- Does your child repeat sounds?
15 to 24 months
- Does your child point to objects when you say their name?
- Does your child follow simple directions?
- Does your child listen to songs and stories?
Causes of Hearing Loss in Children
There are three main causes of hearing loss in children.
Congenital factors contribute to children who are born with hearing problems as a result 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.
Treating Hearing Loss in Children
There are numerous options for treating hearing loss in children, depending upon the type and severity of their condition.
Your child’s doctor may take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to otitis media; chronic cases may be treated with medications or ear tubes that 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. Kindergarten and preschool programs are available for older children.
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 at the first sign of trouble.