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What Causes Hearing Loss In Children

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hearing Loss

What are the causes of hearing loss in children? – Dr. Girish Rai

It can be hard to tell if a child has hearing loss, especially in young children. Those with hearing loss may not respond to sounds or speech. Language development may be delayed. Talk to the doctor if your child does not reach these hearing milestones in the first year of life:

  • For newborns, startling or “jumping” to sudden loud noises.
  • By 3 months, recognizing a parent’s voice.
  • By 6 months, turning the eyes or head toward a new sound and repeating sounds .
  • By 12 months, making babbling sounds, responding to their name, imitating words, and saying a few words, such as “mama” or “bye-bye.”

As your child gets older, signs of hearing loss may include:

  • limited, unclear, or no speech
  • not seeming to pay attention or follow directions
  • not responding to conversation-level speech or answering inappropriately
  • being easily frustrated when there’s a lot of background noise
  • needing a higher TV volume
  • learning problems

Some hearing problems come on gradually after birth or show up later in life. If you are concerned about your childs hearing, talk to your doctor. Your child may need to see a hearing specialist called an audiologist for a complete hearing evaluation.

How Can You Prevent Hearing Loss In Your Baby

Some types of hearing loss, like hearing loss caused by gene changes, cant be prevented. But you can help prevent hearing loss related to other causes, like infections and premature birth. Heres what you can do:

Before pregnancy

  • Get a preconception checkup. This is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy to help make sure youre healthy when you get pregnant.
  • Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. Talk to your provider about vaccinations you need before you get pregnant. For example, you may need the MMR vaccination that protects you from measles and rubella.
  • Get checked for infections, like STIs. Early testing and treatment can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

During pregnancy

Go to all of your prenatal care checkups. Prenatal care is medical care during pregnancy. At each prenatal care visit, your health care provider checks on you and your growing baby. Getting early and regular prenatal care can help you have a healthy pregnancy. Go to all your checkups, even if youre feeling fine.

Protect yourself from infections. Heres what you can do:

After birth

Take your baby to all his well-baby checkups. At these checkups, your babys provider checks your babys overall health, growth and development. Your baby also gets vaccinations to help protect her from harmful infections.

Get early treatment for ear infections. If you think your baby has an ear infection, call his provider right away. Signs and symptoms of ear infection include:

Treatment Of Childhood Deafness

Currently, in the case of Spain, a universal hearing loss screening is carried out, so that all newborns are subjected to a rapid test that allows newborns with possible deafness to be identified. In this way, early treatment and rehabilitation can be applied that allow the child to enjoy adequate development.

The treatment in cases of hearing loss consists of an early stimulation of the baby, carrying out a speech therapy and audioprosthetic intervention adjusted to their particular needs. In cases where hearing loss is severe, cochlear implants are used. These consist of electronic devices that serve so that deaf people can receive sounds. This allows implanted deaf children to carry out their activities just like everyone else.

Being able to perceive the stimuli of the environment and the speech of those around you is of enormous help to improve your quality of life, reducing all the negative consequences mentioned above. Cochlear implants directly stimulate the auditory nerve, preventing the ear from deteriorating further. These are usually the best alternative to address severe hearing loss, since in these cases hearing aids are not effective.

The cochlear implant is essentially made up of two parts. On the one hand, an external one, which is placed just behind the ear. On the other hand, an internal one that requires a surgical intervention to be placed. All implants have the following structures:

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Symptoms Of Childhood Deafness

There are some symptoms that can alert us that a child suffers from hearing loss. Some of them are the following:

  • The baby does not make sounds or babble at 6 months.
  • The baby does not recognize his own name or respond to sounds in the environment, such as the telephone or the doorbell.
  • The baby does not repeat or imitate simple words at 15 months.
  • The baby cannot say at least 10 words at 24 months.
  • The baby cannot make two-word sentences at 36 months.
  • The baby cannot make simple sentences at 48 months.

Usually, parents often suspect a hearing deficit when their child does not respond to sounds or is unable to speak. However, when the hearing deficit is less profound, it may be less evident and this complicates the diagnosis. Many of his behaviors can be misunderstood, such as the child ignoring people who talk to him, but doing so only occasionally or that the child speaks and hears well at home, but not at school.

This is explained because mild deficits only cause problems in noisy contexts, such as a class. If any of these signs appear, it is crucial that a professional examine the child to assess whether it is a case of hearing loss.

Auditory Processing Disorder In Kids With Normal Hearing

Recognizing the signs of hearing loss in children ...

Some kids may pass traditional hearing tests, but still struggle to listen and understand speech, particularly in noisy environments. They may ask you to repeat what you’ve said a lot, and struggle to differentiate similar sounding words. If this sounds like your child, it’s important to talk to your doctor, as it could be auditory processing disorder. This means the ears can detect sound adequately, but the brain struggles to interpret the sound correctly.

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Signs Of Hearing Problems In Older Children

Some signs that your older child may have trouble hearing include that they:

  • dont respond when called
  • have a dip in school grades
  • complain of a ringing sound in their ears
  • talk too loudly
  • watch the television with the volume turned up too high
  • pronounce words incorrectly
  • appear inattentive and prone to daydreaming.

Key Points About Hearing Loss In Babies And Children

  • The most common reason for hearing loss in children is middle ear inflammation or blocked ear canals. A smaller number are born with permanent congenital hearing loss.
  • Early diagnosis is important because hearing loss can affect learning, concentration and communication.
  • For this reason, a newborn hearing test is offered to all babies within the first month of life. Make sure your baby has this simple test.
  • As a parent, you are the person most likely to notice if your child has a hearing problem. Read the signs to look out for below.
  • Talk to your nurse or doctor if you think your child is not hearing well.
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    Speech And Language Development Milestones

    • 9 months â Demonstrates an understanding of simple words such as âmommyâ, âdaddyâ, ânoâ, âbye-byeâ.
    • 10 months â Babbling should sound âspeech like,â with single syllables put together . The first recognizable words emerge around this time.
    • 1 year â Speaks one or more words.
    • 18 months â Understands simple phrases, retrieves familiar objects on command and points to body parts. Has a spoken vocabulary of 20 to 50 words and uses short phrases .
    • 24 months â Has a spoken vocabulary of at least 150 words, coupled with the emergence of simple two-word sentences. Most speech should be understandable to adults who are not with the child daily.
    • 3 to 5 years â Uses spoken language constantly to express wants, reflect emotions, convey information, and ask questions. A preschooler should understand nearly all that is said. Spoken vocabulary grows from 1,000 to 2,000 words, which are linked in complex and meaningful sentences. All speech sounds should be clear and understandable by the end of this developmental stage.

    If you notice that your child is delayed in reaching any of these milestones by approximately three months, we recommend that you have your child’s hearing tested by a hearing care professional.

    Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing

    What causes Conductive Hearing Loss in children? – Dr. Sreenivasa Murthy T. M

    Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.

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    What Are Common Types Of Hearing Loss

    Your babys auditory system is the system in the body that helps her hear. It makes sense of sound information as it travels from the ear to the brain. Problems in these parts of the auditory system may cause hearing loss:

    • Outer ear. This includes the part of the ear on the outside of the head, the ear canal and the outside of the eardrum. The eardrum separates the outer and middle ear.
    • Middle ear. This is made up of the inside of the eardrum and three small bones called ossicles. Sound coming into the ear moves through the ear canal to the eardrum, causing the eardrum to vibrate . When the eardrum vibrates, it moves the ossicles. This helps sound move to the inner ear.
    • Inner ear. This is made up of the cochlea and canals that help with balance. The inner ear also has nerves that change sound vibrations into signals that travel to the brain through the auditory nerve . The auditory nerve sends sound information from the ear to the brain.

    Common types of hearing loss include:

    How Is Hearing Loss In Babies And Children Diagnosed

    If your child can’t hear properly it can affect their learning, concentration and communication. Therefore it’s important to detect any hearing loss as early as possible, ideally in the first few months. Unfortunately, many hearing problems in children are not picked up until about 3 years of age.

    Research from the Ministry of Health shows that if hearing loss is diagnosed early, and you make use of the options to restore their hearing, your child is likely to have improved language, learning and social development.

    For this reason, a newborn hearing test is offered to all babies within the first month of life. Make sure your baby has this simple test. If there are any delays, ask your midwife, Plunket nurse or GP to follow up.

    Read more about the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme from the National Screening Unit.

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    What Types Of Hearing Loss Affect Children

    Hearing loss in children can be sensorineural, conductive, congenital, acquired , fluctuating, or permanent and caused by genetic or environmental factors.

    Sensorineural hearing loss is by far the most common type of hearing loss present at birth . It can occur as a result of a lack of development or damage to either the auditory nerve or the delicate hair cells in the inner ear . About 25% of congenital SNHL cases are caused by acquired risk factors. Although SNHL is generally irreversible, an evaluation is important to:

    Track progression of hearing loss in the affected ear and the unaffected ear in unilateral hearing loss

    • Diagnose associated physical conditions
    • Identify other family members at risk
    • Get adequate treatment and therapy
    • Counsel parents and children

    Conductive hearing loss is caused by blockage or damage to a childs outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear, making it difficult for sounds to pass from their outer ear to their middle ear. In newborns, fluid in the middle ear space makes it difficult for sound to pass to the inner ear. In infants and children, fluid in the middle ear is usually secondary to an ear infection. Impacted earwax or a foreign body can also completely block a childs ear canal. Once the fluid, earwax, or foreign body is resolved, the child’s hearing typically returns to normal.

    Congenital Hearing Loss

    Living With Hearing Loss

    Causes and signs of hearing loss in children

    For starters, set up your home so your rooms are well lit and places to sit face each other. When people talk, watch their mouths move as well as their facial expressions.

    Remove sources of background noise you donât need. For instance, turn off the TV when no one’s watching it.

    Let people know what they can do to help you understand them better:

    • Get your attention before they start talking.
    • Make sure you can see their lips moving.
    • Speak clearly, but don’t shout.

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    Test Your Child’s Hearing

    As a parent, you are the person most likely to notice if your child has a hearing problem. The sooner you discover this, the sooner your child can be tested further and treated if necessary. Teachers may also notice hearing problems, so it is worth checking with your childs teacher whether they have any concerns.

    The checklists below, which are only a guide, can alert you to potential problems with your child’s hearing. If you are worried, print out the checklist, take it to your doctor or nurse and ask about getting your child’s hearing tested.

    At 46 weeks: When there is a sudden loud noise, does your baby …

    • jump or blink?
    • stop sucking for a moment?
    • look up from sucking?

    At 34 months: Does your baby

    • blink or cry when there is a sudden noise?
    • stop crying or sucking when you talk?
    • wake or stir to loud sounds?
    • coo or smile when you talk?
    • turn their eyes toward voices?
    • seem to like a musical toy?
    • stop moving when there is a new sound?
    • seem to know your voice?

    At 57 months: Does your baby …

    • turn toward a sound or someone speaking?
    • cry when there is a sudden noise?
    • like music?
    • make lots of different babbling sounds?
    • sometimes copy sounds you make?

    At 912 months: Does your baby …

    • respond to their own name?
    • look around to find new sounds, even quiet sounds?
    • understand ‘no’ and ‘bye-bye’?
    • use babbling that sounds like real speech?
    • try to talk back when you talk?

    At 1518 months: Does your child

    At 23 years: Does your child

    At 5 years: Does your child

    Types Of Hearing Loss In Children

    The primary distinction of a childâs hearing loss is made based on whether the loss of hearing comes from the inner-, middle or outer ear.

    Conductive hearing loss

    Hearing loss caused by an outer or middle ear problem is called conductive hearing loss. With a conductive hearing loss, the inner ear functions normally, but there is damage or an obstruction affecting the outer or middle ear, hindering sound from reaching the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss is usually temporary and treatable in children. Sounds from the outside are softer while the individualâs own voice sounds louder than normal.

    Common causes of conductive hearing loss

    Sensorineural hearing loss

    Damage to the inner ear is called sensorineural hearing loss. It is caused by dysfunction of the cochlea or auditory pathways to the brain and is often present from birth. It can also develop due to constant exposure to loud music, noise, or exposure to medication that can damage hearing. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and cannot be treated with medicine or surgery. In most cases, hearing aids or cochlear implants can help.

    Noise induced hearing loss is the only type of hearing loss that is completely preventable. Sounds can be harmful when they are too loud, even for a brief time, or when they are both loud and long-lasting. It is important to ensure your child not be exposed to harmful noises by either reducing the noise, using protective devices or removing your child away from it.

    Mixed hearing loss

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    Causes Of Hearing Loss In Children2

    Hearing loss can be congenital or acquired . Approximately 50% of all incidents of congenital hearing loss is due to genetic factors.1 Congenital causes of hearing loss that are not hereditary in nature include

    • illnesses
    • use of ototoxic medications, drugs or alcohol
    • premature birth
    • other birth complications

    Hearing loss can also occur after birth, due to a disease, a condition or an injury. If you are wondering what caused your childâs hearing loss, it is best to ask your childâs physician.

    What Hearing Tests Are Part Of Newborn Screening

    Ear infection in children: Causes of Hearing loss – Dr. Sheelu Srinivas

    Your baby has one of these hearing tests as part of newborn screening:

    • Auditory brainstem response . This test uses patches called electrodes and a computer to check how the brain and auditory nerve respond to sound. Your babys provider puts the patches on your babys head and soft earphones in your babys ears. The provider sends sounds through the earphones and measures your babys brain waves to see how your babys brain reacts. This test can show if the brain isnt getting sound information in a clear way. Your baby can be asleep for this test.
    • Otoacoustic emissions . This test checks how the inner ear responds to sound. Your babys provider places a small earphone in your babys ear. The earphone is connected to a computer. The earphone plays sounds that should echo in your babys ear canal. If theres no echo, your baby may have hearing loss. Your baby can be asleep for this test.

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    How Is Hearing Loss Diagnosed

    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 as soon as possible, ideally within a month of birth. If hearing loss is found then, treatment should begin right away.

    Kids with typical hearing should continue to have their hearing checked at their regular checkups. Hearing screening tests are usually done at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 years, and during preteen and teen years. The doctor will also check hearing any other time there’s a concern.

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