Loss of hearing can occur during childhood, adolescents, or even at birth. In fact, nearly 12 percent of kids age 6 through 19 have noise induced hearing loss according to the American Academy of Audiology. The birth defect occurring most frequently in our country is hearing loss. According to the American Speech and Language Association, that number translates to around 12,000 kids each year who are born with hearing loss.
Hearing loss may delay your child’s ability to learn normal language skills. – During the formative years between birth and 3, kids have a keen ability to learn language skills. Young children need to have proper hearing function in order to develop normal speech patterns. Language skills are vital in order for kids to go on to learn how to read effectively.
Some hearing loss in kids can be reversible.
– Not all hearing loss is the result of a long term permanent defect. Minor conditions such as a build up of earwax or an infection could cause reversible hearing loss. Early intervention such as minor surgery or medical treatment could reverse temporary hearing loss in some instances. When ear infections are not treated promptly, there is a risk of permanent hearing loss so medical treatment should be sought promptly.
Language development is positively impacted by early intervention. – Early identification and assessment of hearing losses is vital. Children whose hearing loss was identified before 6 months of age showed dramatic gains in language skill development compared to those diagnosed after 6 months of age. This difference was due to early treatment.
Some hearing loss can be prevented. – You may not realize that noise related hearing loss is very common and it can be avoided all together. It’s important to learn how to use protective gear such as earplugs and earmuffs to prevent loud noises from causing damage. And, be sure to keep the volume down on electronic devices.
Parents may be the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss in kids.
– In many instances parents are the very first to notice something is not quite right in young kids with hearing loss. Signs to watch for include: response to music and making jabbering sounds. At 9 months your baby should respond to the sound of his/her name, repeat back some noises he/she hears and follow simple commands. To learn more about recommended screenings and benchmarks to evaluate normal hearing in young kids, consult a hearing specialist or audiologist.