(opens in a new tab), about 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have some form of hearing loss in one or both ears. As the school year begins around the country, it’s important that children with hearing impairments get the treatment and tools that they deserve. Read these tips to help you identify hearing loss and get help for your child:
Know What Can Cause Hearing Impairment and How to Prevent It
Hearing impairment is different for each individual. Though some are born with hearing impairment, others develop hearing impairment later in life. This means that the cause of hearing impairment from person to person can vary greatly.
An infant may be born with hearing impairment for one of the following reasons:
- Genetic factors play a role in 50 - 60% of all babies born with some level of hearing impairment
- impairment Infections during pregnancy account for 30% of all babies born with some level of hearing impairment
- Low birth weight, often from premature birth, can also lead to hearing impairment in babies
However, even if a child is born without any hearing issues, they can still damage their hearing over time. Here are some examples of how hearing impairment can develop, and moreover, what can be done as (opens in a new tab):
- Loud noise, either suddenly or over an elongated period of time, can damage the hairs in the inner ear. With these hairs damaged, electric signals to the brain aren’t passed on as effectively, leading to hearing loss. Because of this, it’s important to remind your children to keep their headphones at a reasonable volume.
- Injury to the eardrum, including rupturing, can also cause issues with hearing. Though accidents can be difficult to avoid by nature of being accidents, make sure your children know that they should avoid putting Q-tips (or anything else!) into their ears.
- Impacted earwax and ear infections can also cause hearing loss, though these are usually temporary losses and can be fixed with and prescribed antibiotics.
Know Common Hearing Loss Symptoms
While being vigilant about prevention, it is also important to be vigilant about possible symptoms. Sometimes hearing loss happens in children that are too young to communicate that they’re having difficulty hearing, and sometimes with older children, it might happen gradually enough that they don’t notice, or they might not know that their hearing is abnormal. Perhaps when you were a kid, you put on your first pair of glasses and noticed that the green blobs in the distance now had distinctly visible leaves—they must have had them all along, and everyone else must have seen them that way, but you never knew that the green blob was wrong. Hearing impairment can be similar to vision impairment in that way.
A child’s inability to communicate or recognize their hearing loss is why it’s important to watch out for symptoms in your kids, such as:
- Not responding when their name is called
- Concentration issues or excessive tiredness and frustration
- Watching your lips intently when you speak to them
- Volume control issues including speaking both too loudly and too quietly
- Difficulty understanding verbal communication, especially when there is background noise
Know That Hearing Loss Can Affect Learning
Just as their ability to see a chalkboard affects a student’s ability to learn, so does their ability to hear their teachers and classmates. When this ability is diminished by hearing loss, children can have issues with speech, language, and social development. These developmental issues can snowball, leading to difficulties in their adult life with employment, relationships with others, and even mental health.
But this doesn’t have to be the case! Hearing impairment doesn’t have to go untreated, which brings us to our last tip:
Seek Out Hearing Loss Treatment With Your Child
If you’re looking for an audiologist in the Pittsburgh area to treat your child, you’re already in the right place; Dr. R. Patrick Francis and his hearing rehabilitation team at have over 20 years of experience, and can help you and your child with this process.
There are multiple ways hearing loss in children can be treated, such as , though the most common treatment is , which work by amplifying sounds. The first step to getting a hearing aid is making an for an audiological evaluation. Because there are so many hearing aids for children on the market, your audiologist will use the completed evaluation to narrow these choices for your family. Then, during a hearing aid fitting, your audiologist will help you and your child learn how to put their new hearing aid in their ear, how to remove it, how to change its batteries, and how to clean and care for it.
With the right tools at their disposal, a child with hearing loss will have an easier time navigating their education, language, and relationships.
Make the new school year easier for your child by scheduling an appointment with the hearing specialists at Francis Audiology! (opens in a new tab)your appointment today or call (724)-441-8695 for more information.