Hearing is very important, because children need to hear sounds so they can learn about the world around them and learn how to talk. Hearing loss that goes undetected and untreated can lead to delayed speech and language development, as well as social, emotional and academic difficulties.
Each year in the United States more than 12,000 babies are born with some degree of permanent hearing loss. In New York State, if your baby is born in a hospital, they should have their hearing screened. Some babies are born with hearing loss and other children are born with normal hearing but begin to have hearing problems as they grow older. So, even if your baby “passes” their newborn hearing screening, it is still important to keep track of his or her hearing as they grow. Fortunately, many causes of hearing loss are treatable, and it is often possible to return the sounds of childhood to a young life.
Categories of Hearing Loss
As with adults, hearing loss in children is measured in degrees. The loss can range from mild, which causes difficulty hearing hushed tones such as a whisper, to moderately severe, which causes difficulty hearing most of the sounds in average conversational speech, to profound, in which only very loud sounds are audible to the child.
Hearing loss in children typically falls into two main categories.
Conductive loss is the most common type and is associated with conditions in the external or middle ear that block the transmission of sound. These conditions can include ear infection, fluid in the ear, impacted ear wax, a perforated eardrum, a foreign object in the canal, or birth defects that alter the ear canal. Many of these conditions are treatable through medication, minor procedures, or surgery.
Sensorineural loss is the second type and is due to a problem in the inner ear or along the central auditory pathway to the brain. Most often, this type of loss is caused by congenital infections, the use of ototoxic drugs (which includes some antibiotics), premature birth with a very low birth weight, or as a result of treatment for other medical conditions. Although there is no cure for this type of hearing loss, in most cases children can often be helped with hearing aids.
Symptoms/Signs that your child may have a hearing problem
Newborn / infant:
- Does not startle to loud sounds
- Does not demonstrate normal speech development
Toddler and older:
- Sits close to the television and turns the volume to loud levels
- Does not respond to someone if they are not face-to-face
- Repeatededly says, “huh” or “what”
- Is having difficulty in school
- Stating that he/she is having difficulty hearing
If you believe your child has a hearing loss, please come to our office in East Aurora to meet with one of our Audiologists. We also service areas in Elma, Orchard Park, Arcade, Marilla, Buffalo, Springville and West Seneca. Timely hearing testing, diagnosis and treatment will provide the best course of action ensuring the highest quality lifetime experiences for your child.
Contact us today to book your appointment