Hearing Problems Among Young Children: 5 Facts Which May Surprise You

Loss of hearing can occur during childhood, adolescents, or even at birth. Noise is responsible for hearing loss in nearly 12 percent of kids from age 6 through 19 says the American Academy of Audiology. Of all birth defects, hearing loss presents itself more often than any other congenital defect in the United States. In fact, the American Speech and Language Association reports that approximately 12,000 babies are born each year with hearing loss.

Not all hearing loss is permanent. – You may not realize that noise related hearing loss is very common and it can be avoided all together. It’s important to learn how to use protective gear such as earplugs and earmuffs to prevent loud noises from causing damage. And, be sure to keep the volume down on electronic devices.

Hearing loss could delay language development. – During the formative years between birth and 3, kids have a keen ability to learn language skills. Hearing is vital to normal speech development because this process begins in young children with the ability to listen. Language skills are vital in order for kids to go on to learn how to read effectively.

Early intervention can improve language skills in children with hearing loss. – Early identification and assessment of hearing losses is vital. Due to earlier treatment, infants whose hearing loss was detected at age 6 months or younger proved to develop better language skills than kids whose hearing impairment wasn’t discovered until after 6 months of age.

Some hearing loss in kids can be reversible.
– Not all hearing loss is the result of a long term permanent defect. Minor conditions such as a build up of earwax or an infection could cause reversible hearing loss. Early intervention such as minor surgery or medical treatment could reverse temporary hearing loss in some instances. Ear infections left untreated could cause permanent hearing loss, so be sure to seek medical attention right away when there is a possibility of ear infections.

Parents are often times the first to identify early signs of hearing loss in young children.
– Parents are many times the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss in infants such as: no reaction to noises made by toys or not making babbling sounds like normal infants. Around 9 months of age kids should be repeating back sounds and should also understand some simple phrases and commands. For a more in depth list of normal milestones for babies and young children to assess possible hearing loss, ask your hearing specialist or audiologist. Be sure to find out about recommended screenings as well.