Loss of hearing can occur during childhood, adolescents, or even at birth. According to experts at the Academy of Audiology, nearly 12% of younger kids from age 6 through the teen years have hearing loss resulting from noise. The birth defect occurring most frequently in our country is hearing loss. In fact, the American Speech and Language Association reports that approximately 12,000 babies are born each year with hearing loss.
Early intervention can improve language skills in children with hearing loss. – The earlier in life that hearing losses are identified, the more likely the child is to develop fully normal language skills. 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.
Not every type of hearing loss is permanent.
– Hearing loss could be a temporary problem in some children resulting from issues such as ear wax occluding the middle ear, or ear infections. Some conditions resulting in hearing loss are temporary and can be resolved with medical treatment or minor surgery. When ear infections are not treated promptly, there is a risk of permanent hearing loss so medical treatment should be sought promptly.
Some hearing loss can be prevented. – You may not realize that noise related hearing loss is very common and it can be avoided all together. Protect your kids’ ears with ear plugs and/or earmuffs and turn down the volume on the stereo, television, game systems and MP3 player to avoid noise related hearing loss in your children and teens.
Hearing loss may delay your child’s ability to learn normal language skills. – During the formative years between birth and 3, kids have a keen ability to learn language skills. Young children need to have proper hearing function in order to develop normal speech patterns. In order for children to learn proper reading skills, they must first develop good language skills.
Parents may be the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss in kids.
– Many times parents are the first to recognize signs of hearing loss in infants and small children. Response to your voice, noticing noises that toys make (such as rattles), and making babbling sounds are all signs to observe for to ensure infants have normal hearing. When babies are nine months or older you should notice that they understand and respond to basic requests and mimic sounds and noises made by others. 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.