Contrary to popular belief, hearing loss does not only affect the elderly but also children and babies.
For some children, it can appear at birth. For others, it can be the consequence of exposure to loud noises, an illness, or a tear in the eardrum. Either way, it is crucial to detect and treat hearing problems in children as early as possible.
Hearing Problems in Children
Sports competitions, carnivals, fireworks, loud music through the use of headphones or earbuds, concerts, and so many other entertaining activities children take part in can cause damage to your children’s sensitive ears. As a reminder, hearing damage can occur when you are exposed to noise levels of 85 decibels and above for a long time. Unfortunately, parents don’t often realize that their child is listening to music or watching a movie on their tablet at a volume that often exceeds this noise limit.
When a child suffers from hearing damage, the consequences are not always immediately noticeable but sometimes appear a few years later. Hearing impairment can lead to concentration problems, stress, sleep disorders, reduced language development, and tinnitus.
What are the Types of Hearing Loss?
The most common forms of hearing loss in children are conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is caused by a blockage or physical damage in the outer or middle ear. To allow sounds to pass through the obstructed ear, a hearing aid will need to amplify the volume. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or cochlear.
Children born without an ear canal and whose hearing loss is severe cannot use a hearing aid but can use implants such as bone conduction or cochlear implants. These implants convert sounds into vibrations or electrical impulses transmitted directly to the inner ear. This allows these children to hear sounds without distortions.
Detecting Hearing Loss
Certain signs may indicate that your child is suffering from hearing problems. Pay attention if your child:
- Has difficulty understanding what is said to them in a noisy environment
- Does not react when spoken softly to or when someone whispers something to them
- Requires a higher volume to watch TV or listen to the radio (or getting very close to the device)
- Observes your face more when you talk to them to read your lips
- Does not react to sudden loud noises
- They are more often tired and suffer from headaches
- They are increasingly fussy and irritable
- In some cases, obtains poor academic results at school
How to Intervene in case of Childhood Hearing Loss
If you suspect hearing loss in a young child or already have a diagnosis that confirms it, you must act immediately. It has been found that early identification of hearing loss in children helps them develop language, whether spoken or signed. This early identification will also make it easier for medical, audiology, and teaching professionals to work together with the families of these children. It is about their parents having a guide to favor their child’s development, and communication needs correctly.
Audiologists play a critical role in assessing a child’s hearing ability and guiding parents on what steps to take. After carrying out the corresponding audiological tests, which will determine the degree of the child’s hearing loss, the audiologist will advise the parents of the different alternatives to follow.
Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, the measures recommended by hearing professionals may include a combination of interventions: the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, speech therapy, sound therapy and some assistive listening devices.
Increasingly, advanced hearing aid technology helps children connect with the world by accessing the essential sounds in their environment, and of course, everyday speech.
Helping your Child Succeed
Here are some ways you can help your child be successful:
- Encourage good communication by talking slowly, steadily, and clearly while standing one to two meters away from them (not more than that)
- Promote and support your child to wear their hearing aids
- Try to keep the background noise low whenever possible, making it easier for your child to hear
- Consider using sound therapy apps, such as the AudioCardio™
Try the AudioCardio™ Sound Therapy Application
AudioCardio is a technology company focused on hearing health and wellness. Learn how AudioCardio can help maintain and strengthen your hearing with your favorite headphones or hearing aids at www.audiocardio.com.