For the month of May, those with hearing loss in Arizona and around the country banded together to help spread awareness. Better Hearing & Speech Month is a month-long event with the goal of not only educating the public about hearing and speech disorders but also encouraging those who may be experiencing an issue to seek help.
While it is true that hearing loss is much more common in adults, it can affect people of all ages. Hearing loss in children can be even more detrimental than it is in adults as it can lead to problems with their learning and development.
How to Identify Hearing Loss
How can you tell if your child might have a hearing loss? There are a number of signs that should prompt you to have your child’s hearing tested ASAP. These signs include:
- A delay in speech and language.
- Failure to respond to loud noises or your voice.
- Poor academic performance.
- Frequent ear infections.
- Disorders associated with hearing loss (e.g., Down syndrome or autism).
- Family history of hearing loss.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss in kids is broken down into two categories: congenital and acquired.
Congenital hearing loss means your child was born with hearing loss. This is often caused by genetic issues, prenatal problems or premature birth.
Acquired hearing loss, you guessed it, means your child developed hearing loss after birth. The causes of this hearing loss are more varied and include:
- Exposure to loud noises
The most common cause of hearing loss in children is an ear infection. Known medically as otitis media, it occurs when fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear. In addition to pain, ear infections can cause difficulty hearing and, in severe cases, may lead to permanent hearing damage.
How is Pediatric Hearing Loss Treated?
For an ear infection, your child’s Green Valley audiologist will typically start with a wait-and-see approach. If their symptoms do not subside or your child gets ear infections often, medication or ear tubes may be needed. Ear tubes are surgically inserted into the ear to help with draining.
For those with more permanent hearing loss, their Green Valley audiologist will typically recommend the use of a hearing aid.
The earlier you bring your child in to see their Green Valley audiologist, the better the outcome. As with any medical condition, early intervention is key. Untreated hearing loss can lead to speech or learning difficulties. Take a lesson from Better Hearing & Speech Month; if you think your child may be experiencing hearing loss now is the time to act and contact Arizona Hearing Specialists.