Hearing loss can happen at any age. In fact, nearly 12 percent of kids age 6 through 19 have noise induced hearing loss according to 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.
Kids with hearing impairment can benefit greatly from early diagnosis and treatment. – Early identification and assessment of hearing losses is vital. Studies have shown that infants whose hearing loss is detected after 6 months of age did comparably worse on language skill development compared to infants where the loss was detected and treated before 6 months.
Childhood hearing losses aren’t necessarily lifelong.
– 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. Some conditions resulting in hearing loss are temporary and can be resolved with medical treatment or minor surgery. 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.
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. Using protective ear plugs or ear muffs is a must for protecting kids from noise induced hearing loss. Also, parents should lower the volume on stereos and other electronics.
Hearing loss may delay your child’s ability to learn normal language skills. – Children learn more about language from birth to 3 years of age than they do at any other time in life because during that time the brain is more receptive to learning language. 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.
Hearing loss signs and symptoms are often times initially observed by parents.
– In many instances parents are the very first to notice something is not quite right in young kids with hearing loss. Signs to watch for include: response to music and making jabbering sounds. 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.