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. Hearing loss is also the number one most common type of birth defect in the U.S. Nearly 12,000 children are born each year with some type of hearing loss says the American Speech and Language Association.
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. Some conditions resulting in hearing loss are temporary and can be resolved with medical treatment or minor surgery. Chronic (long term) ear infections could cause permanent hearing loss so be sure you seek professional help early on if ear infections are suspected.
Kids with hearing impairment can benefit greatly from early diagnosis and treatment. – Early identification and assessment of hearing losses is vital. Children whose hearing loss was identified before 6 months of age showed dramatic gains in language skill development compared to those diagnosed after 6 months of age. This difference was due to early treatment.
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. Good language skills are very important in order for a young child to learn how to read.
Not all hearing loss is permanent. – It may be surprising to note that noise related hearing loss is 100 percent avoidable. 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.
Parents are often times the first to identify early signs of hearing loss in young children.
– 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. At 9 months your baby should respond to the sound of his/her name, repeat back some noises he/she hears and follow simple 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.