Hearing loss at any age is an emotional issue. It robs you of a sense that adds so much to the richness of life. In children, the loss is especially heartbreaking. It impacts not only the sound experience of a life yet to be lived to the fullest, but also creates a barrier to a child’s number one job, learning. Fortunately, many causes of hearing loss are treatable, and it is often possible to return the sounds of childhood to a young life. We invite you to learn more….
Categories of Hearing Loss
As with adults, hearing loss in children is measured in degrees. The loss can range from mild, one that causes difficulty hearing hushed tones such as a whisper, to moderately severe, where the child can still hear loud speech, to a total loss resulting in deafness.
Hearing loss in children typically falls into two main categories. A conductive loss is the most common and is associated with conditions in the external or middle ear that block the transmission of sound. These conditions can include ear infection, fluid in the ear, impacted ear wax, a perforated ear drum, a foreign object in the canal or birth defects that alter the canal. Many of these conditions are treatable through minor procedures or surgery.
Sensorineural loss is the second type. “Nerve deafness” is an inner ear or central auditory pathway to the brain issue. Most often, this type of loss is caused by congenital infections, the use of ototoxic drugs (antibiotics), premature birth with a very low birth weight and some of the resulting treatments or a number of other medical conditions. Although there is no cure for this type of hearing loss, in most cases children can often be helped with hearing aids.
Signs to look for possible hearing issues in children of different ages are:
- Newborn / infant:
- Not startling at loud noises
- Not showing normal speech development
- Toddler and older:
- Sitting close to the television with the sound turned up to a loud volume
- Having difficulty in school
- Not responding to someone that is talking without being face to face
- Stating that he/she is having difficulty hearing
An infant must undergo a mandatory newborn hearing screening. Our audiologists perform the ABR (auditory brainstem response test) follow-up screenings for babies who fail their initial screening.
If you believe your child has a hearing loss, please come to our office in Lansing, Mason, and St. Johns to meet with our Audiologists. Timely hearing testing, diagnosis and treatment will provide the best course of action ensuring the highest quality lifetime experiences for your child.
Contact us today to book your appointment