Hearing loss is not confined to older adults: children of all ages can experience a loss of hearing. Roughly three out of 1000 babies are born with hearing loss. Hearing loss in the adolescent population is also becoming more wide spread. Noise-induced hearing loss is largely responsible for this increase. If you suspect your child is having difficulty hearing, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can have a strong effect on a child’s learning and development.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
There are three main causes of hearing loss in children.
- Congenital factors such as genetics, prenatal problems, or premature birth contribute to children who are born with hearing problems.
- Otitis media (ear infection) is a very common childhood ailment that occurs when fluid accumulates in the middle ear. This can cause difficulty hearing and, in severe cases, may lead to permanent hearing damage.
- Acquired hearing loss is triggered by illnesses, physical trauma, exposure to loud noises, and medications.
What Are the Symptoms of Hearing Loss?
There are a number of signs that should prompt you to have your child’s hearing tested ASAP. These include:
- A delay in speech and language.
- Failure to respond to loud noises or your voice.
- Poor academic performance.
- Frequent ear infections.
- Disorders associated with hearing loss (i.e. Down syndrome or autism).
- Family history of hearing loss.
How Is Hearing Loss Treated?
There are numerous options for treating hearing loss in children, depending upon the type and severity of their condition. Your child’s doctor may take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to otitis media; chronic cases may be treated with medications or ear tubes. Tubes are inserted surgically and allow fluid to drain from the ears.
Permanent hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other hearing devices that enable a child to communicate.
The earlier you seek treatment, the less chance your child will experience speech and learning difficulties as the result of a hearing impairment.
Call Southwest Idaho ENT at (208) 367-3320 for more information or to schedule an appointment.