Signs Kids Could Be Hard of Hearing
Hearing loss is often associated with aging, and understandably so. Individuals from all walks of life undoubtedly have an aging friend or relative who has experienced some degree of hearing loss, and millions of seniors across the globe would admit to having some difficulty with their hearing. But hearing loss also can affect children and, if undiagnosed, it can have an adverse effect on nearly all aspects of their lives.
The World Health Organization estimates that, as of 2021, approximately 34 million children present with hearing loss that requires rehabilitation. Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that hearing loss in children can be present at birth or develop later in childhood. Hearing loss that develops later in childhood is known as acquired hearing loss, and parents can look for various signs that kids could be losing their hearing. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association notes that the signs of hearing loss in children may include:
• Delayed speech and/or language development
• Speech sound disorder: The ASHA notes that speech sound disorders include any difficulty or combination of difficulties with perception, motor production, or phonological representation of speech sounds and speech segments• Difficulty in following or understanding instructions
• Frequent requests for repetition
• Use of increased volume on devices, including televisions, personal music players and tablets
• Difficulty effectively expressing themselves: Children can exhibit difficulty expressing themselves verbally and/or via written language
• Frustration with communication breakdowns
• Feeling of exhaustion at the end of a school day
• Difficulties at school: Children with hearing loss may experience academic, behavioural, or social difficulties in the classroom and on campus
What causes acquired hearing loss in children?
The causes of hearing loss in children can be as simple as cerumen (ear wax) or as complex as damage to middle or inner structures after suffering trauma to the head. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta notes that over-the-counter ear wax removal drops can effectively clean ears and restore kids’ hearing, though such drops may need to be part of routine preventive health care measures. Ear infections, encephalitis, excessive noise exposure, meningitis, the presence of a foreign body in the ear, and viral infections like measles or mumps also can contribute to hearing loss in kids. Physicians can direct treatment of hearing loss based on the cause of kids’ hearing loss, but it’s worth noting that some hearing loss may require long-term use of hearing aids, surgery, or medication.
– Metro Creative