Risk Factors: Some children are born with hearing loss; others develop hearing loss as they age. Hearing loss may make it hard for a child to formulate speech. They may develop language impairments over time and may have issues developing social skills as well.
Moreover, hearing loss may involve any part of the ear that is malfunctioning and not just the inner ear. Some of the risk factors for hearing loss in infants include low birth weight, being born premature, head trauma, an infection, being exposed to loud noises and genetics.
For example, a child is more likely to be born with a hearing impairment if one or both of their parents suffer from some form of hearing loss.
Exposure to loud noises may increase the risk of hearing loss in children. Particular medical conditions have also been linked to hearing loss, including stroke, certain bacterial infections, tumours, high blood pressure, some viruses, diabetes, and brain injuries.
Injuries to the mother or baby while pregnant, or injuries to the baby while it is born, may also cause hearing loss. For instance, the baby may receive blunt force trauma to its ear, thus causing the eardrum to rupture.
Ear infections that are not treated by antibiotics or other forms of medical intervention may also cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. The mumps and meningitis have also been linked to hearing loss in both children and adults.
In order to properly diagnose hearing loss, and the extent of the child’s hearing loss, the proper hearing tests need to be administered. Hearing tests in children may be even more important than hearing tests in adults, as children may have trouble expressing how they feel.
The earlier the child is diagnosed, the better their long-term outcomes will be in terms of their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. A regular hearing test may not suffice.
While your baby is sleeping, an audiologist will test their hearing. The baby will sleep in a room that is very quiet. Electrodes will be placed on your infant as they sleep. The audiologist will then place 2 soft tips in your baby’s ears.
Next, the specialist will send sounds at differing loudness levels to your baby’s ears. Your child’s hearing nerve response will be carefully measured by a very advanced computer system.
The data that is relayed to the specialist will be interpreted in order to ascertain whether or not your infant is hearing impaired.
The extent of the hearing loss, if applicable, will also be assessed by the audiologist. The test is completely painless and safe for infants.
Speech therapy has been shown to help children who are hearing impaired communicate with their peers, parents, and teachers. Your child may also be provided with hearing aids that have been custom-tailored to treat their unique hearing condition.
Many hearing aids that are manufactured today are very discrete, and will automatically make adjustments depending on the environment that the child is in. They are very user-friendly, and your child can quickly make any changes to the settings of their hearing aids with an easy-to-use application on their phone or tablet.
Bone-anchored hearing aids are state-of-the-art devices that utilize bone conduction of sound to provide children with optimal hearing. If your child suffers from single-sided deafness or conductive hearing loss, then they may benefit from bone-anchored hearing aids.
Children who cannot wear normal hearing aids due to deformed ear canals, absent ears, or chronic infection, may also greatly benefit from bone-anchored hearing aids.
Vibrotactile aids may also be provided. They are designed to translate sounds into vibrations. Your child will actually be able to feel the vibrations through their skin.
If you want to protect your children from developing hearing loss problems in the future, then you need to pay attention to their behaviours and their environment. Ensure that they are not exposed to loud noises.
Reduce how long they listen to music with their headphones, and set a decibel limit on the devices that they use. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as your child develops ear infection symptoms.
Check the medications that they take as well, as certain drugs can cause temporary hearing loss or damage their ears.
As for symptoms of hearing loss in children, they include distraction-prone behaviour that may resemble attention deficit disorder, and augmented lethargy in noisy settings or during lively school days.
Additionally, your child may report a ringing noise in their ears or muffled hearing. They may also report pain in their head or ears as well.