Hearing loss at any age is an emotional issue. It robs you of a sense that adds so much to the richness of life. In children, the loss is especially heartbreaking. It impacts not only the sound experience of a life yet to be lived to the fullest, but also creates a barrier to a child’s number one job, learning. Fortunately, many causes of hearing loss are treatable, and it is often possible to return the sounds of childhood to a young life. We invite you to learn more.
Categories of Hearing Loss
As with adults, hearing loss in children is measured in degrees. The loss can range from mild, one that causes difficulty hearing hushed tones such as a whisper, to moderately severe, where the child can still hear loud speech, to a total loss resulting in deafness.
Hearing loss in children typically falls into two main categories. A conductive loss is the most common and is associated with conditions in the external or middle ear that block the transmission of sound. These conditions can include ear infection, fluid in the ear, impacted ear wax, a perforated ear drum, a foreign object in the canal or birth defects that alter the canal. Many of these conditions are treatable through minor procedures or surgery.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)
Sensorineural loss is the second type. “Nerve deafness” results from damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss may be congenital, meaning present at birth. Most congenital sensorineural hearing loss is caused by either a genetic defect or a prenatal infection, SNHL can also develop after birth. Possible causes of SNHL include illnesses such as mumps, meningitis, measles and other serious childhood illnesses. Ototoxic drugs, usually anitibiotics used to treat severe infections, and head injuries may also result in SNHL. Although there is no cure for this type of loss in most cases, children can often be helped with hearing aids.
Signs to look for possible hearing issues in children of different ages are:
Newborn / infant:
Not startling at loud noises
Not showing normal speech development
Toddler and older:
Sitting close to the television with the sound turned up to a loud volume
Having difficulty in school
Not responding to someone that is talking without being face to face
Stating the he or she is having difficulty hearing
If you believe your child does not hear well, you should consult with your physician or an AudigyCertified™ practice at the earliest possible date. Timely testing, diagnosis and treatment provide the best course of action to ensuring the highest quality lifetime Sound Experience for your child.