October is Audiology Awareness Month, and in honor of that, we’d like to highlight a few facts about pediatric hearing loss.
Facts About Pediatric Hearing Loss
- According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 2-3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
- The vast majority of infants are screened for hearing loss during universal newborn hearing screenings. These are usually done before leaving the hospital or within the first few weeks after a child is born.
- If a newborn screening hearing test indicates hearing loss, it doesn’t necessarily mean your child has a hearing problem. It could also be a sign of a temporary condition, like fluid buildup in the ear.
- Similarly, younger children may also experience temporary hearing loss from ear infections, earwax buildup or from sticking a foreign object like a pebble into their ear. Once these conditions are treated, their hearing should return to normal.
- Genetics is the leading cause of pediatric hearing loss. However, other factors, including infections (both in utero and after being born), certain medications, low birth weight and exposure to loud noise can be causes as well.
- If your infant has hearing loss, they may exhibit early signs like not responding to the sound of your voice or not reacting to sudden loud noises.
- Pediatric hearing loss can cause delays in speech and language development, such as being slower to speak their first word or learning how to read.
- If left untreated, hearing loss in children can negatively affect their academic performance and make it harder for them to communicate and form friendships with their peers.
Treating Hearing Loss in Children
The good news is that by treating pediatric hearing loss as soon as it’s detected, you can help your child meet the same developmental milestones as children with normal hearing.
While several treatment options exist, pediatric hearing aids are commonly prescribed. For infants and young children, the behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid style is recommended by groups like the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) because the earmolds are soft, safe, not easily broken and easy to replace as your child grows.
Treating your child’s hearing loss can help them better enjoy all aspects of life, from playing with friends to enjoying story time at Austin Public Library.
If you are concerned about your child’s hearing and wish to schedule an appointment, call River ENT today.