Aging is a common cause of hearing loss. It is common to believe that children and teenagers who are deaf or hard of hearing have had this condition since birth. However, hearing loss can occur at any age and can occur quickly in both children and adults.
One must be aware of not just the problems that arise from hearing loss but also the factors that lead to it. Only by understanding how hearing loss impacts communication and mental health peers, educators, and parents can help disturbed youth. In the linked blog post, the importance of hearing to our culture and its many causes are looked at in more detail.
When youngsters get congestion, colds, or ear infections, fluid accumulates in the middle ear, causing mild hearing loss. The Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the neck, drains any leftover fluid into the back of the throat. This lets the affected ear hear normally again.
Due to difficulties with the Eustachian tube, fluid may remain in the middle ear after an ear infection in a significant number of youngsters, maybe as many as one in ten. Children who have this condition have impaired hearing compared to other children their age. As a consequence of this, they can have delays in their speech.
The type of hearing impairment that is permanent and has a consistent negative influence on normal speech and language development is significantly less common. Permanent hearing loss can be mild or only affect part of the hearing, or it can be complete or utter.
Recognizing Degrees of Hearing Impairment
Hearing is not a binary sense, contrary to the common perception, which categorises people as either hearing or deaf. Instead, it can be measured on a scale. Therefore, some adolescents may have no hearing skills, while others may have some.
When a person’s hearing starts to deteriorate, they first have problems picking up on quieter sounds, and then they have trouble with louder sounds. Teenagers may initially lose the capacity to hear low hums and birds chirping and then later lose the ability to hear spoken words in a quiet environment. They will eventually get to the point where they can’t hear gunshots or aeroplanes anymore.
Early Diagnosis is Vital
If your newborn has a hearing problem, you need to learn about it immediately, so your child doesn’t fall behind in language development, which begins at birth. This is why all new-borns are screened formally for hearing loss before they are discharged from the hospital.
A professional hearing evaluation should be scheduled as soon as possible if you or your child’s paediatrician think your child has a hearing impairment at any point in their development. Do your due diligence and search for a hearing test near me, and you will be spoiled for choice.
Some primary care physicians, paediatricians, and well-baby clinics offer hearing tests to identify hearing loss or middle ear fluid. Your child may be referred to an audiologist and an ENT doctor (otolaryngologist) if a problem is found with their hearing.
Types of Hearing Exams for Children
- Auditory brainstem and otoacoustic emissions tests
Infants younger than six months, those who do not participate in or understand a hearing exam, and those with major developmental delays may be offered one of two tests. These procedures mirror those used in routine new-born hearing checks. They don’t hurt, and they take anywhere from five minutes to an hour.
The ABR test analyses the brain’s reaction to noise while you’re fast asleep. The brain’s response to clicks or tones played into the baby’s ears through soft earphones is measured using electrodes placed on the baby’s head. In newborns less than three or four months old, ABRs are conducted when the babies are sleeping naturally. Younger infants and toddlers can have an ABR without being anesthetized.
Sound waves generated by the ear are quantified by means of the otoacoustic emissions test. An infant’s reaction to clicks or tones played into the ear is measured by inserting a small probe into the ear canal and monitoring its movement. The quick screening exam does not necessitate sedating or sleeping infants or toddlers. No age restriction applies.
- Behavioral Audiometry
A compliant infant as young as six months can have their hearing tested using behavioural audiometry (also known as conditioned response audiometry). Both visual and audible cues are used in this evaluation. It can test the hearing of babies and toddlers over a wide range of frequencies, but not for each ear separately.
Eardrum health and hearing thresholds are both quantifiable by means of standardised behavioural audiometry. Soft earphones transmit sounds and words to the ear for this purpose. Children between the ages of three and five can usually handle it without any problems.
If these screenings reveal that your infant has a suspected hearing impairment, a complete hearing evaluation should be scheduled as soon as feasible. Mild hearing loss can still make it hard to hear, so it needs to be found and treated in the right way.
Listening devices for deaf and hard-of-hearing youngsters
There are various aids available that can improve a child’s hearing of spoken language. If your youngster can hear, they will be able to begin learning to utilise language.
The type and degree of hearing loss that your child has will determine the type of assistive listening equipment that is best suited for their needs. Some people call the following things “amplification equipment” or “assisted listening devices”:
- Personal frequency modulation (FM) systems
- Bone conduction implants
- Cochlear implants
Your youngster may use a single device or a combination of devices to communicate with you. Because each piece of equipment serves a slightly different purpose, combining them may provide your child with more opportunities to hear sounds. These aids may also be used in conjunction with spoken language and sign language by your child.
A significant number of children who have hearing loss employ the use of assistive listening devices in both of their ears. The audiologist your child sees can help you figure out if the devices are good for your child or not.
Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family
Even while it’s easy to get wrapped up in looking after your child, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re taking care of your health as well. If you look after yourself first, then you’ll be in a better position to look after your child.
Getting help from other parents is one of the best ways to deal with parenting challenges. You can make meaningful connections with other parents going through something similar by attending a support group, either in-person or online.
If you have additional children, they may react in a variety of ways to the fact that one of their siblings has a disability. They have a right to believe that you care about them and what they are going through and that you consider them to be of equal importance as your child who has a disability. It is essential to have open communication with your other children, to spend time with them, and locate appropriate help for them to use while dealing with their sibling relationships.