If you’re a new parent, you might have a lot to worry about. But, hearing loss in children isn’t something to dismiss— in fact, it’s the number one birth defect in the United States and can be caused by many different things, some of which are unknown. Although there’s no easy way to treat hearing loss in children, being vigilant for its signs can help your child get the help they need without delaying the highly important development of communication. Always contact your ENT specialist in Tuscaloosa for a screening if you think there may be a complication.
Signs in Infants
The Center for Disease Control recommends that infants be screened for hearing loss no later than one month old (even while still inside the hospital, if possible). Although it might be more difficult to notice signs of hearing loss in newborns and infants because of their stage of development, there are still certain things to look for, generally regarding responsiveness. If your child doesn’t respond or startle from loud noises, seems to have difficulty determining the source of a sound, or doesn’t respond to their name being called, there may be some degree of hearing loss. Similarly, if simple speech does not seem to develop by one year of age, it may be caused by limited hearing.
Signs in Children
If you believe that your child is not developing as they should be communicatively or socially, there’s a possibility it may be caused by hearing loss. Once your child is able to speak and hold conversation, indicators that they may be experiencing hearing loss is delayed, unclear, or louder-than-normal speech. Also, similar to infants, if they don’t respond to directions or their name being called, it might be something more serious than ignoring or not paying attention. Obviously, things like needing to have things repeated or having the volume of their music or entertainment higher than normal are signs they may need a screening.
Options for Treatment
If your child is suffering from hearing loss, there are many different options, and your treatment will depend on the causation and needs of the child. Hearing aids or cochlear implants are one of the most common, but surgical options also exist. Many families also seek to learn sign language or other forms of communication, if needed.
Your important first step is having your child undergo a pediatric screening to determine the cause and effect of hearing loss. Contact Alabama ENT to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.