You may think hearing loss only happens as you get older, but you’d be mistaken! Hearing loss can affect anyone at any age, including kids, so it’s especially important to know the signs of hearing loss in children. Early intervention is critical—let’s explore what you need to know about hearing loss in children.
Signs of Hearing Loss in Children
First things first: how can you tell if your child has hearing loss? It’s not always easy to spot, but here are a few signs to look out for:
- They’re not responding when you call their name
- They’re not babbling or making sounds as much as other children their age
- They’re frequently turning up the volume on the TV or device
- They’re speaking louder than usual or seem to be shouting
- They’re having trouble following instructions
Of course, these signs alone don’t necessarily mean your child is having hearing difficulties. However, if you notice several of these signs on a frequent basis, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your friendly local audiologist.
Preventing Hearing Loss in Children
As with many health conditions, hearing loss prevention is always best. There are a few things you can do to help protect your child from the most common causes of hearing loss.
The louder a noise and the longer you are exposed to it, the higher chance it has of contributing to hearing loss. Protect your child’s ears from loud noises by using earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and avoid noisy environments.
Take your child to the doctor if they’re showing signs of an ear infection and promptly get them treatment. Chronic middle ear infections can cause or contribute to hearing loss. In addition, make sure your child receives all recommended vaccinations, including the pneumococcal vaccine, which helps prevent infections that can lead to hearing loss.
Diagnosing Hearing Loss in Children
To diagnose a child’s hearing loss, an audiologist will usually perform a series of tests. One common test is called an audiometry test, which involves playing different pitches at different volumes and measuring the child’s responses.
Another test is the otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test, which measures the sounds emitted by the inner ear in response to a sound stimulus. These tests are painless and non-invasive, and they can provide valuable information about your child’s hearing ability.
Managing Hearing Loss in Children
But what if your child already has hearing loss? There are plenty of ways to manage it effectively. Regular hearing tests and check-ups are important, as is following your audiologist’s recommendations for hearing loss treatment and management.
Encourage your child to use their hearing aids or other hearing devices consistently. If they’re having trouble getting used to the sensation of their hearing aids or cochlear implant, try these tips. Communicate with your child’s teachers and other caregivers about their hearing loss to discuss accommodations that help them thrive.
You might also consider investing in classes to help your child develop alternative communication methods, including:
- Sign language
- Speech pathology
Coping Strategies for Parents and Children with Hearing Loss
Living with hearing loss can be challenging for both parents and children. Here are some coping strategies that can help.
Learn as much as you can about hearing loss and how to manage it effectively. Attend support groups, read books, and seek out information from reputable sources. Not sure where to start? Your audiologist can likely point you in the right direction.
Encourage your child to speak up for themselves and their needs. Teach them to communicate their needs and accommodations clearly and confidently to teachers, caregivers, and peers.
Make use of technology and assistive devices. There are many devices available that can help your child, such as FM systems, captioning services, and vibrating alarms.
Create a supportive environment at home. Encourage open communication and make sure your child knows they can come to you with concerns or questions about their hearing loss.
Take care of yourself, too! Caring for a child with hearing loss can be stressful, so make sure you’re taking time for self-care and seeking out support from friends, family, or therapists.
Let the Pros at Amdahl Hearing Help You Today
If you think your child might have hearing loss, don’t hesitate to get help. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment is critical for their development and well-being.