Heights Picture of the Week- Sept. 15
Hearing Loss in Children
Hearing loss in children affects their ability to speak and develop social skills. Children that have hearing loss benefit greatly from started services as early as possible. If you think your child has hearing loss, do not wait. Speak to your child’s health care provider to get their hearing tested as soon as possible.
You can use the check list below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on hearing loss risk. If you check off one or more boxes, your child might be at risk for hearing loss and you should take them to their health care provider for a hearing test.
What are signs of hearing loss in children?
Even if a child has passed a hearing test in the past there are important signs of hearing loss that should not be ignored.
Children can have different signs of hearing loss depending on their age.
Signs in Babies
- Does not startle at loud noises.
- Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.
- Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.
- Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
- Seems to hear some sounds but not others.
Signs in Children
- Speech is delayed.
- Speech is not clear.
- Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
- Often says, “Huh?”
- Turns the TV volume up too high.
There are milestones in playing, learning, communication and behavior that babies and children should reach. If your child has a delay in any of these milestones, speak to their health care provider. These delays could be a sign of hearing loss or other developmental problem.
How are children tested for hearing loss?
A hearing test or screening can tell if a child might have hearing loss. Hearing screenings are easy, painless, and take only a few minutes. Babies and children have their hearing screened at different points in time.
Babies: Hearing screening no later than 1 month of age. Most babies have their hearing screened as newborns in the hospital. If a baby does not pass a hearing screening, they should get a full hearing test again no later than 3 months of age.
Children: Hearing screened before they enter school or any time there is a concern about the child’s hearing. If a child does not pass a hearing screening at any time they need to get a full hearing test as soon as possible.
What are the causes of hearing loss in children?
Here are some things that can increase the chance of hearing loss in children:
- About 1 out of 2 cases of hearing loss in babies is due to genetic causes. This means they might have family members who also have a hearing loss or have a “syndrome” or a condition in addition to the hearing loss, such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome.
- 1 out of 4 cases of hearing loss in babies is due to maternal infections during pregnancy, complications after birth, and head trauma.
- For about 1 out of 4 babies born with hearing loss, the cause is unknown.
How is hearing loss treated in children?
There are many different options to help children with hearing loss and 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 (electronic device that helps restore hearing)
- Medicine and surgery to correct some types of hearing loss
- Family support services
Children with hearing loss that start intervention services early are more likely to reach their full potential. If you notice any signs of hearing loss in your child, trust your instincts and speak with your child’s health care provider as soon as possible.
Hearing Loss in Children. (2015). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Retrieved from: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/facts.html