Older adults are not the only ones who have hearing loss: children of all ages can also experience it. Roughly three out of 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss, and its prevalence is increasing in adolescents due to damaging noise exposure. If you suspect your child has difficulty hearing, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can have a substantial effect on a child’s learning and development.
What Causes Hearing Loss in Children?
There are three leading causes of hearing loss in children. First, congenital factors contribute to children born with hearing problems because of genetic disorders, prenatal problems or premature birth.
Second, otitis media (ear infection) is a widespread childhood ailment that occurs when fluid accumulates in the middle ear. This condition causes hearing difficulties and, in severe cases, may lead to permanent hearing damage. Finally, illnesses, physical trauma, exposure to loud noises and medications can lead to acquired hearing loss.
What are the Symptoms?
Several signs should prompt you to have your child’s hearing tested. These include:
- Speech and language delays
- Failure to respond to loud noises or your voice
- Poor academic performance
- Frequent ear infections
- Disorders associated with hearing loss (e.g. Down
- syndrome or autism)
- Family history of hearing loss
Treating Hearing Loss in Children
There are several options for treating hearing loss in children, depending upon the type and severity of their condition. Hearing aids, cochlear implants and other hearing devices, such as bone anchored hearing aids, are treatment options used to enhance communication and treat permanent hearing losses. Additionally, there are different language approaches and communication strategies that children can use to better improve understanding. When treating hearing loss in children, acting sooner lessens the chance of your child experiencing speech or learning difficulties that can result from a hearing loss.
To schedule a pediatric hearing test or hearing aid consultation, please call Hearing Services of Santa Barbara at 805-967-4200 and request to see our pediatric audiologist, Nicole Mungcal.