Does Your Child Have A Hearing Problem?
Hearing Loss In Children
To a young child being able to hear effectively is critical to emotional, social and cognitive development. Poor hearing may affect the proper development of speech and language skills.
The Good News
Most hearing problems can be corrected if they are caught early so it is vitally important to have your child’s hearing checked regularly.
Causes of Hearing Loss
Around three babies per thousand will be born with some form of hearing loss. There are many different things which may contribute to hearing loss but no cause is found in around half of the cases.
Hearing problems may occur if a child:
- Is born prematurely
- Had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
- Suffered with newborn jaundice and the bilirubin was at a level which required a blood transfusion
- Has been taking medications which can cause hearing loss
- Has other family members who are experiencing or have experienced childhood hearing loss
- Had birth complications
- Has suffered with multiple ear infections
- Has contracted infections like meningitis or cytomegalovirus
- was exposed to very loud sounds or noises, even briefly
In some cultures it is almost obligatory to listen to music at an extremely high level. If this is the case it is important to remember that VERY LOUD NOISES WILL DAMAGE YOUR CHILD’S HEARING.
When Should You Evaluate A Child’s Hearing?
When a child is born he/she is screened for hearing loss but when the hearing loss is caused by trauma, infections, or things like high noise levels the problem may not be noticeable until later in childhood. Because of this it is important to have your child screened regularly as they grow.
- If your child was not given a hearing test at birth or you chose to home birth, it is important to have your child’s hearing tested before they are three weeks old
- Hearing tests should be done at birth (then frequently) then age 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10, and any other time if you have a concern
Normal Hearing Milestones
Before the age of one your child should reach the following milestones:
- Newborn and infants generally get startled by loud noises
- A baby can usually recognize a parent’s voice by 3 months old
- A baby can usually turn their head or look towards a sound by six months old
- A baby can usually produce a few simple words like momma or dadda and imitate some sounds by 12 months old
Signs Of Hearing Loss
As your child gets older signs of hearing loss may include:
- Speech development problems
- Problems with paying attention
- Learning problems
- Listens to the TV or Music at high volume levels
- Has difficulty with normal conversation (doesn’t respond or answers inappropriately)
- Does not respond to his/her name
- Is easily frustrated when there is a lot of background noise
If your child shows any of the above signs see your doctor as soon as possible. Early intervention is one of your greatest assets in combating hearing loss.