Loss of hearing can occur during childhood, adolescents, or even at birth. In fact, nearly 12 percent of kids age 6 through 19 have noise induced hearing loss according to the American Academy of Audiology. The birth defect occurring most frequently in our country is hearing loss. According to the American Speech and Language Association, that number translates to around 12,000 kids each year who are born with hearing loss.
Childhood hearing losses aren’t necessarily lifelong.
– Hearing loss could be a temporary problem in some children resulting from issues such as ear wax occluding the middle ear, or ear infections. Early intervention such as minor surgery or medical treatment could reverse temporary hearing loss in some instances. Chronic (long term) ear infections could cause permanent hearing loss so be sure you seek professional help early on if ear infections are suspected.
Language development is positively impacted by early intervention. – The earlier in life that hearing losses are identified, the more likely the child is to develop fully normal language skills. Due to earlier treatment, infants whose hearing loss was detected at age 6 months or younger proved to develop better language skills than kids whose hearing impairment wasn’t discovered until after 6 months of age.
Hearing loss may delay your child’s ability to learn normal language skills. – Children learn more about language from birth to 3 years of age than they do at any other time in life because during that time the brain is more receptive to learning language. Listening is the first experience required for normal speech development in young children. In order for children to learn proper reading skills, they must first develop good language skills.
Permanent hearing loss can be avoided. – There are types of hearing loss that are preventable, including noise related damage to the hearing. It’s important to learn how to use protective gear such as earplugs and earmuffs to prevent loud noises from causing damage. And, be sure to keep the volume down on electronic devices.
Parents may be the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss in kids.
– Parents are many times the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss in infants such as: no reaction to noises made by toys or not making babbling sounds like normal infants. At 9 months your baby should respond to the sound of his/her name, repeat back some noises he/she hears and follow simple commands. For a more in depth list of normal milestones for babies and young children to assess possible hearing loss, ask your hearing specialist or audiologist. Be sure to find out about recommended screenings as well.