Pediatric Hearing Loss Affects Speech and Language Skills
Identifying child hearing loss early is so important for emotional well being and developing speech and language skills as they grow.
In the past, hearing loss in children often went undetected until the child was approximately two years old, when it became obvious that he or she wasn't talking yet. The good news is today the majority of newborns receive a hearing screening before discharge from the hospital. Children with mild hearing loss may pass newborn hearing screenings, and hearing screenings for newborns cannot identify children with late onset or progressive types of hearing loss.
It is very important to monitor your child’s development for hearing, language, and speech even if your newborn passed a hearing screening test in the hospital.
If your child shows no indication of hearing loss, it is still important to see that they receive a hearing screening as they grow and are subjected to environmental loud noises, infections, or injuries that may cause damage to the inner ear or nerve pathways.
Grand River Hearing and Tinnitus Centre offers Pediatric Hearing Assessments and appropriate testing as your child develops.
Pediatric Hearing Assessments
Causes of Hearing Loss
Many things can be the cause of hearing loss from birth to adolescence. It is important for parents, physicians, and caretakers to understand the types of hearing loss in order to take the appropriate action. The lack of hearing can have an effect emotionally and in their development of language and speech.
Congenital hearing loss can be caused by either genetic or non genetic factors. If it is genetic things like birth complications, infections in the mother, medications, drugs or alcohol can play a role.
Non genetic causes may be Autosomal Recessive hearing loss where neither parent has hearing problems but they have a recessive gene they are not even aware of. Autosomal Dominant hearing loss is when one parent carrying a dominant gene for hearing loss passes it to the offspring.
Acquired hearing loss can result from many things and occurs after birth, including frequent ear infections, a perforated ear drum, viral and bacterial infections like meningitis or the measles, a head injury, and exposure to very loud noises.
Transient hearing loss or Conductive hearing loss can be caused by a middle ear infection when fluid inhibits the vibrations of the tiny middle ear bones, making efficient sound transmission difficult. Thankfully, this type of hearing loss is usually temporary recovers on its own or with medical intervention. However, frequent, untreated middle ear infections can cause cumulative damage to the bones, eardrum or auditory nerve, creating a permanent, sensorineural hearing loss. A conductive hearing loss is often undetectable by parents as the child may show no or little symptoms.
With older children where speech skills are already developed, it may be more difficult to identify hearing loss concerns. The signs listed below will help parents detect possible hearing loss.
Grand River Hearing and Tinnitus Centre offers hearing assessments that will assist in identifying any concerns.
Signs To Look For
• Your child seems to hear fine some of the time and then not respond at other times
• Your child moves one ear forward when listening
• Your child's grades fall or the teacher mentions they don’t seem to be interacting as well in class
• Your child says that they didn't hear you. Parents may assume their children are not paying attention when in fact there may be an unidentified hearing loss.
• If your child looks at you intensely when you speak to them, as if concentrating, they may be depending more on visual cues for interpreting speech.
For a more complete list refer to 10 signs your child may have a hearing loss
If your child is having difficulty hearing you, or showing any signs listed above, please book an assessment as early as possible.