Effective communication is of the utmost importance in childhood development. That’s why hearing loss needs to be identified as soon as possible after a baby is born so that if there are any hearing issues, they can be corrected with the use of a device and the child won’t experience a gap in the ability to perceive his or her environment and will be able to develop normal speech and language.
Hearing loss occurs in 1 to 3 out of 1000 babies. Thankfully, universal newborn hearing screenings have made it much easier to identify hearing loss in a child. All states have regulations about babies undergoing this test before they leave the hospital and receiving follow-up and diagnosis before they reach 3 months of age. Any necessary intervention takes place before the baby reaches 6 months of age.
Children are constantly perceiving, analyzing, and reproducing their environment. It’s how they learn. They usually learn to speak by copying the sounds coming from adults around them. That’s why early diagnosis and early intervention are crucial for uninterrupted development.
There are two types of hearing loss in children: congenital and acquired.
Congenital hearing loss is present at birth, and can reliably be diagnosed during newborn hearing screening exam.
Acquired hearing loss is a bigger problem, because parents whose children have passed the newborn hearing exam may think they’re out of the woods and may not be able to correctly identify the problem when it does occur.
Some potential causes of acquired hearing loss are:
- Ear infections
- Ototoxic drugs
- Chicken pox
- Head injury
- Noise exposure
Here are some signs to watch out for that may indicate your child is experiencing acquired hearing loss:
- The child turns up the TV too high
- The child does not turn his or head toward sounds
- The child’s speech development is not age appropriate.
- The child ignores you when you call him/her
- The child doesn’t speak like others the same age
- The child has articulation issues
- The child responds inappropriately to questions
- The child has difficulty following along in class
- The child complains of earaches or hearing noises
The good news is that some hearing loss in children can be temporary, and be alleviated by using the correct medication or via minor surgery. The key is to become aware of the problem as soon as possible so a doctor or audiologist can then monitor your child’s hearing and test if it’s improving.
If you think your child may be experiencing hearing loss, it’s best to get him or her tested right away. That way, you can gain some peace of mind and also tackle the problem sooner rather than later, which could make all the difference in your child’s successful communication habits. Contact us today to set up an appointment!