The ability to hear is a crucial part of development in children: It’s a large part of what allows them to learn to communicate, build social skills, and learn.
It’s crucial, then, to recognize and understand symptoms and forms of hearing loss in children, so that they may be addressed and treated. If a child has hearing loss and it goes ignored or untreated, this could result in learning difficulties and delayed cognitive development. It could potentially inhibit their speaking ability, since children learn to speak by listening.
There are two types of hearing loss: congenital, which is present at birth, and acquired hearing loss, which occurs after birth. Causes of congenital hearing loss can include infections during pregnancy, birth complications, brain or nervous system disorders, and genetic syndromes. Causes of acquired hearing loss can include middle-ear infections, noise-induced hearing loss, and head injuries.
If you’re not an audiologist, it can be difficult to pin-point exactly what caused hearing loss in your child, but there are a few telltale signs that will help you recognize whether your child has difficulty hearing.
Signs of hearing loss in preschool-aged children and older
- Your child turns up the volume on a TV or personal listening device louder than necessary.
- Your child frequently responds to questions with inappropriate answers, or doesn’t seem to recognize his own name when called.
- Your child often complains of ear pain or ear aches, or will sometimes turn only one ear (his “good ear”) toward the conversation.
- Your child has academic issues: If grades start slipping because your child’s teacher notes that he doesn’t seem to be paying attention, it may be because he isn’t hearing properly.
- Your child responds to questions or situations by imitating others’ behaviors; this may be a sign that he’s relying on context clues rather than his own comprehension to respond.
- Your child hears fine one moment, and the next, he seems not to hear anything.
- Your child has a different diction than other children his age, or can’t articulate words properly.
- Your child begins to speak more loudly than necessary.
- Your child doesn’t show signs of disturbance by loud or unexpected noises.
Even if your child doesn’t show signs of hearing loss, it’s important to keep on top of hearing health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children undergo hearing screenings when they begin going to school; at ages 6, 8, and 10; once during middle school, and once during high school.
If your child shows signs of hearing loss, it’s best to consult an audiologist. Associated Audiologists has doctoral-level professionals who can help diagnose hearing loss. Contact us today to make an appointment, and prevent hearing loss from disrupting your child’s development.