Do You Suspect Your Child Has A Hearing Loss
If you think your child may have some degree of hearing loss, the good news is there are now more hearing technologies than ever before that can help improve, not just their school performance, but their overall quality of life.
The most important thing is to have them tested as soon as you suspect there may be a problem. The sooner you can determine the cause and level of loss, the faster your child can be on their way to hearing the world in a whole new way.
What Tests Are Done For Diagnosing Hearing Loss In Children
Hearing can be assessed at any age, even in a newborn. Hearing tests are painless. The choice of test depends on the childs age and development.
- Otoacoustic emission test: Described in Question 2. OAE can also be done in older children.
- Brainstem-evoked response audiometry: Soft earphones play sounds into the babys ears and responses from the hearing nerve are seen as waves on a linked computer. The baby needs to be asleep for this test, and older babies may require sedation. It is done in babies referred from the newborn hearing screen and in older children who do not do behavioral audiometry reliably. BERA gives information about hearing levels.
- Behavioral audiometry : This test can be done from 6 months onward. Responseof the child is observed to sounds presented though a speaker or headphones. Depending on age, various methods are used to encourage the child to respond to sounds, e.g., lighted toys , play tasks, e.g., building a tower of blocks , or pressing a button. These tests depend on cooperation of the child and give information about hearing levels.
- Tympanometry: This test checks for any middle ear abnormality.
Fig. 6: Common hearing tests done to diagnose hearing loss.
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Impact Of Hearing Loss For Adults
Early Versus Late Onset
It is important at the outset to distinguish between adults who have experienced an early onset of severe or profound hearing loss and adults whose hearing loss was acquired later in life. When hearing loss occurs at an early age , there is an impact on the development of spoken language, on reading ability and educational attainment, and, ultimately, on employability . These persons are usually considered , and a good number may use or a similar sign system as their preferred mode of communication. When hearing loss occurs after the development of spoken language, and particularly when it occurs slowly, as it does in aging or as the result of prolonged noise exposure, there is a loss of functional hearing ability, but other cognitive skills and competencies are not greatly affected. The terms hard-of-hearing and late deafened are often used to describe these individuals. In the sections that follow, we examine the impact of hearing loss in adults, with only occasional reference to etiology or time of onset. Nevertheless, each issue or research finding has greater relevance for one of these groups than for the other.
My Child Has Been Suspected Of Having A Hearing Loss Whichdoctor Should I Consult And How Soon
As soon as you suspect hearing loss in your child, you should consult a pediatrician, who will listen to your concerns and examine your child. Do not delay getting advice when hearing loss is suspected, because untreated hearing loss can impact on your childs development.
The pediatrician can refer you to a pediatric audiologist to have your childs hearing tested. If your child has wax build-up, ear infection, or another problem causing conductive hearing loss, he/she may be referred to an otolaryngologist to have this treated.
Audiologists can perform in-depth behavioral hearing assessment for even very young children . They can also do hearing tests for babies from birth to 6 months of age. After the assessment and tests, the audiologist will spend time talking with you about your childs hearing ability and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
After diagnosis of hearing loss, your child may need further tests to find the cause of hearing loss . Children with hearing loss can sometimes have other difficulties and may need to see other specialists. Your pediatrician and audiologist will advise you in this regard.
When Should Hearing Be Checked
Its best to catch hearing problems early, because treatment is more successful if it starts before a child is 6 months old. Thats why every newborn has a hearing screening test before leaving the hospital.
If your baby doesn’t have a screening before going home, or was born at home or a birthing center, get their hearing checked within the first 3 weeks of life. Not passing a hearing screening doesnt mean a baby has hearing loss, but it does mean that the baby should be retested within 3 months. If hearing loss is found then, treatment should begin right away.
Kids should continue to have their hearing checked at their regular checkups. Hearing screening tests usually are done at:
- ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 years
- the preteen years
- the teen years
The doctor will also check hearing any other time there’s a concern. Tell your childs doctor if you are concerned about a hearing problem.
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What Teachers Should Know
Hearing loss can affect a child mildly or in a very profound way. Profound hearing loss may mean that a child is deaf. Kids are born with hearing loss or can lose their hearing through injuries, infections, or long exposure to loud noises.
Signs that a child has hearing loss include:
- having limited or unclear speech
- not following directions or paying attention
- hearing only parts of a conversation asking for information to be repeated
- not being able to hear everyday sounds, like a school bell or morning announcements
- learning problems
Hearing loss can be temporary. But when its not, there are technologies, therapies, and other treatments to help. Devices like hearing aids and cochlear implants can improve a childs ability to hear. Learning sign language or speech reading can also make it easier to communicate.
How Do You Know If Your Baby Has Hearing Loss
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all babies get screened for hearing loss before theyre 1 month old. Most babies get their hearing checked as part of newborn screening before they leave the hospital after birth. Newborn screening checks for serious but rare and mostly treatable health conditions at birth. It includes blood, hearing and heart screening.
If your baby doesnt pass her newborn hearing screening, it doesnt always mean she has hearing loss. But she needs a full hearing test as soon as possible before shes 3 months old. A full hearing test can help your babys health care provider diagnose hearing loss.
If your baby has hearing loss, getting treatment right away is important. Every state has an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program that works to help children with hearing loss and their families. It can help with full hearing tests and other services for your baby. You can find your local EHDI program through the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management website.
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Hearing Loss Affects The Communication
Children begin to learn how to communicate from the moment they are born. They listen and very soon they are able to recognise their mother’s and father’s voices. Children begin talking by imitating the sounds that they hear.Communication, however, is more than spoken language. We communicate by gestures, facial expressions and other kinds of body language. These ways of communicating are very important, and in many situations we pay more attention to this kind of communication than to spoken words.Children who are suffering from hearing loss have difficulties learning how to communicate because they cannot hear all the sounds around them or even their own voice. Therefore their basic development of language will often be delayed. But children with mild to severe hearing loss almost always develop a language that can be understood. Research has shown that even children with profound hearing loss can learn how to speak. The sooner they are diagnosed and treated, the better. Without hearing assistance it can be extremely difficult for children who are born with severe hearing impairment to learn how to read, write and speak.
Learn More About Hearing Loss In Children
Hearing loss can affect a childs ability to develop communication, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential. If you are a parent and you suspect your child has hearing loss, trust your instincts and speak with your childs doctor. Dont wait!
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What Is Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear isnt working in the usual way. It can range from mild to profound:
- Mild: You can hear some speech sounds, but soft sounds are hard to hear.
- Moderate: You cant hear very many speech sounds when someone is talking at a normal level.
- Severe: You cant hear any speech sounds when someone is talking at a normal level. You can only hear some loud sounds.
- Profound: You cant hear any speech sounds. You can only hear very loud sounds.
Hearing loss is a common birth defect. Birth defects are structural changes present at birth that can affect almost any part of the body. They may affect how the body looks, works or both. Birth defects can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or how the body works. Up to 3 in 1,000 babies are born with some kind of hearing loss in the United States each year.
When a baby is born with hearing loss, its called congenital hearing loss. Hearing loss also can develop later in babies or during childhood or adulthood.
Impact Of Hearing Loss On School Performance
It doesnt really matter if its mild or minimal hearing loss, tinnitus, sensorineural, or profound, any amount of hearing loss will affect a childs performance in school and is often directly proportional to the severity of the loss.
Students who are hearing impaired lose access to a great deal of information from the conversations surrounding them every day. Many words sound the same to them, so theyre forced to use a great deal of effort to try to distinguish whats being said around them, in addition to conversations directed to them.
The extra listening effort is required constantly, and can quickly lead to fatigue for the child. Some additional factors that contribute to listening effort fatigue include:
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What To Do If You’re Concerned About Your Child’s Hearing
If you’re concerned about your child’s hearing talk to your doctor or health visitor about your child seeing an audiologist. The audiologist should carry out a hearing test to confirm whether your child has a hearing problem, and what the options are for managing it.
If your child has a learning disability, autism or both you can .
If you have just been told that your baby, toddler or child has a hearing loss, the news may be a shock. The majority of deaf children are born to hearing parents who have no previous experience of deafness. We are here to help. One of the ways we can help is with our information about first diagnosis.
Is There Help Available
Yes, theres a lot of help available, beginning with the free evaluation of the child. The nations special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act , requires that all children suspected of having a disability be evaluated without cost to their parents to determine if they do have a disability and, because of the disability, need special services under IDEA. Those special services are:
- | A system of services to support infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
- Special education and related services | Services available through the public school system for school-aged children, including preschoolers .
To access early intervention: To identify the EI program in your neighborhood, visit the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, at:
To access special education and related services: We recommend that you get in touch with your local public school system. Calling the elementary school in your neighborhood is an excellent place to start. The school should be able to tell you the next steps to having your child evaluated free of charge and, if found eligible, he or she can begin receiving services specially designed to address your childs needs.
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Hearing Loss In Children
Hearing loss can affect a childs ability to develop speech, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential. If you think that a child might have hearing loss, ask the childs doctor for a hearing screening as soon as possible. Dont wait!
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Hearing In The Workplace
Prevalence of Hearing Loss in the Workplace
Although there have been numerous surveys used to estimate the prevalence of hearing loss in the general population, there is no comparable survey of prevalence in the workplace. Prevalence rates in the general population, broken down with respect to age and gender, can be used, with appropriate weights, to derive such estimates. For example, according to a survey of 80,000 households in the National Family Opinion panel conducted in November 2000, 275 per 1,000 households reported having a person with a hearing difficulty, in one or both ears, without the use of hearing aid . The NFO panel is balanced to reflect U.S. census information, and the survey results translate to an estimated 28.6 million households reporting hearing loss. Although the age distribution reported by Kochkin leads to an estimate of 17.4 million adults of working age in the United States, it is very difficult to estimate the numbers actually in the workplace. The disabling outcomes of hearing loss are likely to reduce this number, but as discussed by Mital , the median age of the population is increasing and many older workers are delaying retirement for financial reasons, thereby increasing the numbers of older adults in the workplace.
Employment Status of Adults with Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss And Developmental Delay In Children
Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit experienced by children. An estimated three million children in the United States have hearing loss. Hearing loss, especially when it occurs early in a child’s life, can greatly affect speech and language development.
Approximately 1.3 million American children under the age of 3 have hearing loss. Even temporary or treatable forms of hearing loss, such as fluid in the ears, can cause delays if they are experienced by a child who is in learning to understand language and to speak. Impaired social skills may also occur in children with hearing loss. Additionally, many children with hearing loss experience difficulty in areas of academic achievement.
These are preventableearly detection of hearing loss, and effective intervention can decrease the impact that hearing loss has on a child’s development.
These are the early signs and symptoms of hearing loss in infants and children.
- Does not startle at loud noises
- Does not turn their head toward sounds
- Does not say at least some words by 12 months of age
- Frequently asks you to repeat what you have said
- Listens to music or television at a high volume
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Treatments And Intervention Services
No single treatment or intervention is the answer for every person or family. Good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups and any changes needed along the way. There are many different types of communication options for children with hearing loss and for their families. Some of these options include:
- Learning other ways to communicate, such as sign language
- Technology to help with communication, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants
- Medicine and surgery to correct some types of hearing loss
- Family support services