All About Hearing Loss In Children
Children learn to communicate by imitating sounds they hear. Undetected hearing loss in children may result in an inability to develop normal speech and language skills or understanding.
This will result in delayed speech/language development, social problems and academic difficulties.
The most effective treatment is early intervention, appropriate fitting of hearing aids and special education programs. Newborns should be screened before they leave the hospital to go home or within 3 months. Even children as young as 3 months old can be fitted with a hearing aid.
- Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) and Play Audiometry for cooperative children
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) and Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Tests for infants and children who cannot cooperate for a traditional hearing evaluation
- The newest test used is the Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR) along with ABR
Causes And Symptoms
There are mainly two causes of hearing loss in children. These are Congenital and Acquired Causes.
- Hearing defects caused due to hereditary history
- Infections such as German Measles, Herpes during birth
- Genetic Syndromes such as Down, Usher, Crouzon, etc.
- Maternal Diabetes
- Toxemia during pregnancy
- Lack of oxygen
- Untreated middle ear infections such as Otitis media
- Ototoxic drugs (drugs that damage auditory system)
- Infections such as meningitis, encephalitis
- Head injury
- Exposure to loud sounds such as fireworks
- Perforation of eardrums
Warning signs or symptoms that indicate hearing loss in children:
Have the following symptoms in your child caused you worry and anxiety?
- Limited, poor or no speech
- Difficulty in learning
- Failure to respond when called
- Answering inappropriately
- Need for increased television volume
- Being frequently inattentive
- Recurrent ear infections
- Family history of hearing loss
- Having difficulty in understanding what other people are saying
- Speaking differently from other children
- Watching others to imitate what they are doing