HEARING LOSS IN Children

”My child can’t hear properly!” is a realization that leaves many parents a bit shaken. But the good news is that in today’s world, it’s easy to help a child improve their hearing just like glasses correct vision.

Find a hearing care professional
Help! My child can't hear
Many parents suspect early on that their baby can’t hear. When a newborn isn’t frightened by loud noises, or a 5 or 6 month-old baby doesn’t react to the sound of their own name, this may suggest that they have a hearing loss.

Older kids who can’t hear properly may turn up the volume on the TV or computer very high, or fail to respond when a parent speaks.

Don’t worry: it’s easy to correct your child’s poor hearing.  And the earlier, the better.
Signs of hearing loss in toddlers
  • Trouble understanding what people are saying

  • Needing things repeated a lot

  • High volume on TV or computer

  • Difficulty following group conversations

  • Withdrawing from social situations

FIRST STEPS WHEN YOU SUSPECT HEARING LOSS IN YOUR CHILD

These are some first steps you can take when you begin to suspect that your child has hearing difficulties.
  • Continue to play, sing and talk with your child
    As with all children, positive human contact is essential for emotional growth and well-being. A hearing impaired child has perhaps an even greater need for close one-on-one contact to lay the groundwork for communication.

  • Look at your child when addressing him or her
  • Your lips, facial expressions and body movements hold important information.

  • Speak in a clear audible voice without shouting
  • Raising your voice too much can distort the sound of your voice making it more difficult to understand.

  • Make sure that there is adequate lighting when speaking to your child, so the child can see your face clearly.
Get your child evaluated by hearing care professional
The realization that your child has a hearing loss can be overwhelming as a parent.

There is so much information to take in, and so many questions to be asked and decisions to be made. And in addition to all of these practical concerns, there can be many emotional issues.

Testing a baby’s hearing through newborn hearing screening programs is the best way to detect hearing loss in children as early as possible.

Where hearing screening is not routine, it is quite often the parent that begins to suspect a hearing loss in infant.

You should trust your intuition if you recognize signs of hearing loss in child. If in doubt, make an appointment to see an audiologist or consult your family doctor to arrange a hearing test for children.

A child is never too young to have their hearing tested, and studies have shown that the sooner a child is fitted with hearing aids, the better their language skills can be developed.
Understanding hearing test for toddlers
During the baby’s hearing test, two parameters – frequency and intensity – are varied in order to determine the softest sounds your child is able to hear.

Your child’s audiogram is a grid with two scales.

The horizontal scale is the “frequency scale”. Frequency, which we perceive as pitch, can be described as the different notes on a musical scale.

Frequency is measured in Hertz. Children with normal hearing are able to hear from a very-low frequency sound of 20 Hz (e.g. fog horn) to a very high frequency of 20.000 Hz (e.g. whistle).

The vertical scale is the “intensity scale”. Intensity, which we perceive as loudness, can be described as how loud or soft a sound is. A child with normal hearing should be able to hear each frequency at a level of 20 dB or less.
Have your child fitted with hearing aids
Have your child fitted with hearing aids as soon as possible to make maximum use of all hearing possibilities.

The earlier a child receives the benefits of amplification, the better their chances are for developing good communication skills.

Your family is absolutely not alone in caring for a child with hearing loss.

Many cities have organizations for hearing impaired children and their families which can offer support and advice, and libraries and bookstores have books about hearing loss in children which can be helpful.

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