When you smile and talk to your baby, they laugh and giggle back. However, when there is a loud noise that startles everyone, they don’t flinch. It is imperative that parents note these kinds of anomalies as they can be early signs of hearing loss. Let’s look further into understanding early signs of hearing loss in children.
Levels and Types of Hearing Loss in Children
Hearing loss in children is classified as mild, moderate, severe, or profound.
There are two types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural hearing loss describes a problem in the inner ear or sending sound signals to the brain. Some children can be born with this type, but for many children sensorineural hearing loss develops over time and is almost always permanent. A hearing aid or cochlear implant can help these children detect sound. If their hearing loss is severe or profound, this child may learn to communicate using technology plus sign language, lip reading, and gestures.
- Conductive hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing loss in infants and young children. Something blocks the outer or middle ear preventing sound waves from reaching the inner ear. Some children are born with conductive hearing loss, but mostly it is caused by an ear infection, buildup of earwax, fluid, a foreign body in the ear, or a punctured eardrum. It is possible to treat this with ear tubes, meds, or surgery.
Risk Factors for Hearing Loss in Young Children
Some of the common risk factors for hearing loss in children include the following:
- low birth weight
- jaundice in newborns
- excessive exposure to noise
- RH factor in their blood
- maternal diabetes
- loss of oxygen
- toxemia during pregnancy
Common Signs of Hearing Loss in Young Children
If your baby doesn’t respond to loud sounds, does not seek out where sound is coming from, does not react to voices even while being held, and doesn’t babble or experiment with making sounds, your child could have a hearing loss.
For infants and toddlers, delayed or absent speech development is the most important sign.
For older children, difficulty following directions, frequent requests for repetition, increasing the volume on the TV or other devices, and delayed speech or language development are all signs of hearing loss.
There are many causes of acquired hearing loss, or hearing loss after birth, that may not appear for months or years later. Most hearing loss in children without obvious risk factors like premature birth has a genetic cause.
If your child is showing signs of hearing loss, don’t wait to have him or her evaluated by Cobb Pediatrics. Contact us at (770) 425-5331 to schedule an evaluation in Marietta, GA.