Whether you are young or old, you may experience hearing loss. In fact, nearly 12 percent of kids age 6 through 19 have noise induced hearing loss according to the American Academy of Audiology. Of all birth defects, hearing loss presents itself more often than any other congenital defect in the United States. In fact, the American Speech and Language Association reports that approximately 12,000 babies are born each year with hearing loss.
Not all hearing loss is permanent. – It may be surprising to note that noise related hearing loss is 100 percent avoidable. Using protective ear plugs or ear muffs is a must for protecting kids from noise induced hearing loss. Also, parents should lower the volume on stereos and other electronics.
Hearing loss could delay language development. – During the formative years between birth and 3, kids have a keen ability to learn language skills. Hearing is vital to normal speech development because this process begins in young children with the ability to listen. In order for children to learn proper reading skills, they must first develop good language skills.
Kids with hearing impairment can benefit greatly from early diagnosis and treatment. – The earlier in life that hearing losses are identified, the more likely the child is to develop fully normal language skills. Studies have shown that infants whose hearing loss is detected after 6 months of age did comparably worse on language skill development compared to infants where the loss was detected and treated before 6 months.
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. Chronic (long term) ear infections could cause permanent hearing loss so be sure you seek professional help early on if ear infections are suspected.
Hearing loss signs and symptoms are often times initially observed by parents.
– Parents are many times the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss in infants such as: no reaction to noises made by toys or not making babbling sounds like normal infants. Around 9 months of age kids should be repeating back sounds and should also understand some simple phrases and commands. Be sure to ask your hearing specialist or audiologist for a more conclusive list of signs and symptoms to watch for, as well as his/her recommendation on when your child should have a professional hearing screening.