As your child is growing and developing during the early years of their life, hearing is a critical part of their social, emotional, and cognitive development. Even the smallest amount of hearing loss in children can affect their ability to develop speech and language properly. If this happens, they could be developmentally behind for a significant amount of time. This is why it is crucial if you suspect your child has hearing loss to seek help from a specialist.
The good news, however, is that if your child does have some hearing problems it can be overcome. As with most things, the earlier that it’s caught, the better. It’s important to get your child’s hearing screened early and checked regularly. Here is some advice if you believe that your child has some hearing problems.
Know the causes of hearing loss.
As we get older, hearing loss becomes something that most people will deal with. In children, however, it is a common birth defect that occurs in almost three out of every 1,000 babies. Although many things can lead to hearing loss, about half the time, a cause is not identified. Some common reasons for childhood hearing deficiencies include premature birth, genetic defects, numerous ear infections, and childhood illnesses. No matter what the cause, you should act quickly to help repair your child’s hearing.
Know when to get your child’s hearing checked.
It has become commonplace for newborns to have a hearing screening shortly after birth. In many cases, the hearing loss is caused by things like infections or trauma, and the problem doesn’t show up until later. It’s important to have your kids’ hearing checked regularly as hearing problems in children usually emerge before their teen years.
Newborns should be screened in the first three weeks and then again in the first six months. This is especially important as treatment for infant hearing loss can be the most effective if it started before your child is 6 months old. Kids who have seemingly normal hearing should have routine hearing evaluations at their regular doctors’ appointments. Hearing tests are typically done at ages four to eight and then again at age 10. You can also have your child’s hearing checked at any other time if there’s a concern.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
If a newborn passes the initial hearing screening, you can continue to watch for signs that hearing is normal. Some hearing milestones your child should reach before turning a year old include jumping to a sudden noise, recognizing voices, turning their head and eyes towards a sound, and producing a few sounds and words.
If your child isn’t reaching some of these milestones, it could indicate a problem. A problem could be indicated by your toddler if they have limited or poor speech, difficulty learning, poor conversation skills, or frustration with background noise. Any of these signs should be seen as a potential problem and may need to be evaluated by a specialist. As your child gets older, it will be easier to tell if a hearing issue is emerging.
What can be done?
If you think that your child has hearing problems, the best thing to do is to get their hearing checked as soon as possible. If hearing issues are present, there are numerous options to manage the loss of hearing in children. Medical treatments and surgery can help children with certain types of hearing loss but hearing aids are the main treatment for sensorineural hearing loss.
The most common type of hearing loss involves outer hair cells that do not work properly. Hearing aids can make sounds louder and overcome this problem. Hearing aids can be purchased in various styles and options so that your child will be comfortable. Getting their hearing tested by a hearing professional who specializes in childhood hearing loss can yield all types of hearing solutions that can include hearing implants.
If traditional hearing aids aren’t right for your child, they may be able to benefit from other hearing solutions, such as cochlear implants and bone conduction implants. While these solutions may not cure hearing loss completely, they can certainly improve your child’s quality of life and give them the best chance to overcome any problem.
If you suspect that your child has a hearing problem, it is best to get it checked out right away. A hearing specialist can diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment plan that can help your child live as normal a life as possible. With swift treatment, your child’s hearing loss can be minimized.