Hearing loss can happen at any age. 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. According to the American Speech and Language Association, that number translates to around 12,000 kids each year who are born with hearing loss.
Speech and reading skills may be adversely affected by hearing loss. – 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.
Not every type of hearing loss is permanent.
– Children can experience hearing loss from many factors, some are reversible such as an ear infection or a build up of earwax in the middle ear. Medical treatment or minor surgery could be the solution to some hearing loss issues, but early intervention is vital. Chronic (long term) ear infections could cause permanent hearing loss so be sure you seek professional help early on if ear infections are suspected.
Early intervention can improve language skills in children with hearing loss. – Early identification and assessment of hearing losses is vital. 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.
Not all hearing loss is permanent. – There are types of hearing loss that are preventable, including noise related damage to the hearing. 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.
– Many times parents are the first to recognize signs of hearing loss in infants and small children. Response to your voice, noticing noises that toys make (such as rattles), and making babbling sounds are all signs to observe for to ensure infants have normal hearing. Around 9 months of age kids should be repeating back sounds and should also understand some simple phrases and commands. For a more in depth list of normal milestones for babies and young children to assess possible hearing loss, ask your hearing specialist or audiologist. Be sure to find out about recommended screenings as well.