Hearing loss can also occur later in childhood. In these cases, parents, grandparents, and other caregivers are often the first to notice that something may be wrong with a young child’s hearing. Even if your child’s hearing was tested as a newborn, the Audiologists at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center recommend continuing to watch for signs of hearing loss, including:
Not reacting in any way to unexpected loud noises,
Not being awakened by loud noises,
Not turning his/her head in the direction of your voice,
Not being able to follow or understand directions,
Poor language development, or
Speaking loudly or not using age-appropriate language skills.
If your child exhibits any of these signs, report them to your doctor.
What Happens If My Child Has a Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss in children can be temporary or permanent. It is important to have hearing loss evaluated by a physician who can rule out medical problems that may be causing the hearing loss, such as otitis media (ear infection), excessive earwax, congenital malformations, or a genetic hearing loss.
If it is determined that your child’s hearing loss is permanent, hearing aids may be recommended to amplify the sound reaching your child’s ear. Ear surgery may be able to restore or significantly improve hearing in some instances. For those with certain types of very severe hearing loss who do not benefit sufficiently from hearing aids, a cochlear implant may be considered. Unlike a hearing aid, the implant bypasses damaged parts of the auditory system and directly stimulates the hearing nerve, allowing the child to hear louder and clearer sound.
Research indicates that if a child’s hearing loss is remedied by age six months, it will prevent subsequent language delays. You will need to decide whether your deaf child will communicate primarily with oral speech and/or sign language, and seek early intervention to prevent language delays. Other communication strategies such as auditory verbal therapy, lip reading, and cued speech may also be used in conjunction with a hearing aid or cochlear implant, or independently.
Make sure your child has their hearing tested. If you think your child is having trouble hearing, contact the doctors at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center today to scheduled an appointment.