Hearing loss is the full or partial inability to detect frequencies in sound. So many children’s hearing loss treatments are postponed due to misdiagnosis or none at all. Without professional testing, your child’s hearing loss may go unnoticed for years.
Approximately one in every thousand babies are born with a form of hearing loss in one or both ears. It can be mild to profound, temporary or permanent. Getting your child’s hearing tested within the first 3 weeks of birth is essential to detecting hearing loss early, and can aid in getting proper due treatment.
Regular check-ups also ensure your child is progressing normally, and gives parents peace of mind. In the first few years of life, hearing is a critical part of kids’ social, emotional, and cognitive development. Even a mild or partial hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech and language properly.
If your child’s hearing loss is detected too late, your child’s hearing centres will not be stimulated.
Why is this important?
The maturation and development of hearing can be affected.
- Speech and language may be delayed.
- Social and emotional development can be stunted.
- Success in school may be affected.
The Benefits of Early Diagnosis
When hearing loss is identified early on children have a greater chance of developing more normal speech, language and learning skills. A skilled audiologist can also provide you with valuable support and information.
What causes Hearing Loss?
A number of factors lead to hearing loss. In many cases no definitive cause is found. If your child does not pass the hearing screening it may not mean hearing loss is the problem. Sometimes debris or fluid in the ear interferes with screening. In this situation, the test will be performed again.
What if my Child fails Screening?
If your newborn does not pass the initial hearing screening it is important to follow up with a full diagnostic hearing test within 3 months. Treatment may begin to reduce the effects of hearing loss.
Is Hearing an Ongoing Concern?
Even if your child passes hearing screening we advise you continue watching for signs that hearing is normal.
A full audiological evaluation should be scheduled if your child:
- Does not understand words and is unable to talk at the appropriate stages of development.
- Has frequent ear infections or persistent middle ear fluid
- Is not responding normally to sounds
- Has poor educational outcomes.
- Has problems with balance.
When Should I Schedule a Check-up?
Children with normal hearing should be evaluated regularly.
We strongly advise you organise a hearing test:
- Before playschool.
- Before year 1.
- Any other time you are concerned about your child’s hearing.
Who is most at risk?
Hearing loss is more prevalent in:
- Premature babies.
- Babies with respiratory problems who have used breathing machines.
- Babies with previous infections.
- Babies who have taken certain medications.
- Babies with a family history of permanent childhood hearing loss.
Can Hearing Loss be Cured?
The team here at Total Hearing and Health will guide you to the correct treatment. Some hearing problems are medically or surgically correctable if they are caused by middle ear fluid. In other cases, hearing aids and speech and language therapies are effective.
What Happens if Hearing Loss is Diagnosed?
Your audiologist and paediatrician (or GP) will arrange for your child to be seen by an ear nose and throat specialist. They will also guide you to services which will help your child learn to communicate.