It may not seem like it, but hearing loss is a common condition in the United States. It encompasses all age groups, including newborn infants. The type of hearing loss associated with babies is known as “pre-lingual”, which pertains to the hearing loss happening before the child learns how to speak. Leaving these conditions untreated can lead to determinate consequences, especially when it comes to language development.
Fortunately, most infant hearing loss can be treated. Various methods can be used, but two of the most common are cochlear implants and the use of hearing aids. The main goal is to essentially help the child recognize sounds, as the absence of those will impede the auditory brain’s development.
The auditory system is critical to language learning, literacy, speech perception, and production, so it’s important to act as early as possible. If you suspect that your child is suffering from hearing loss, here is a quick guide for you. We talk about the symptoms and causes, along with ways you can deal with the condition better. Let’s begin:
What are the symptoms of a hearing loss?
Your newborn should have taken a hearing screening, but even if they do pass, it’s best to stay alert and watch for any signs of hearing loss. Consider the following milestones during their life:
As a baby:
- Newborn: Jumping to sudden loud noises
- 3 months: The ability to recognize your voice
- 6 months: The ability to pivot head or eyes toward a certain sound
- 12 months: The ability to imitate sounds
Without these abilities, your baby will likely be suffering from hearing loss. As they grow into a toddler with hearing loss, keep in mind that they will be reflecting the following symptoms:
- Frequent inattentiveness
- Difficulty in learning
- Little to no speech
- Need for higher volumes (TV, tablets, music)
- Unable to respond to conversations
- Unable to respond to their names
- Easily frustrated when in the presence of too much background noise
Reasons your child is suffering from a hearing loss
- Your baby may be born with the condition, which is known as congenital hearing loss. The exact reason can be difficult to pinpoint, but most doctors postulate that the condition is genetic. It’s likely a gene that has been inherited from a parent.
- Birth complications can also be a culprit to the hearing loss, which includes a lack of oxygen, herpes, and even serious infections. A mother using drugs can also cause this defect, which can happen even with the intake of prescribed medications. However, drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy is also a contributing factor.
- A baby born prematurely, with a birth of fewer than 3 pounds, will likely also be suffering from hearing loss. These babies require extensive life-sustaining methods, thereby increasing their risks.
Hearing loss can also happen later, meaning that it can occur anywhere after birth. Here are some of the leading causes:
- A severe head injury
- A perforated eardrum
- Infections (measles, mumps, meningitis)
- Too much exposure to loud noises
- Ear infections left untreated
Making Hearing Loss Less Terrifying
Learning that your child is suffering from hearing loss can be downright terrifying. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of emotions, with fear and sadness taking over. Eventually, the feelings will settle into acceptance—with so many treatment options available today, your child will learn to cope with the loss of their hearing. Screening, diagnosis, and intervention hold the key to your child’s development. Even with hearing loss, the right treatment will allow them to develop language skills to help them lead normal lives.
Early intervention is key to winning the battle against hearing loss. For the best hearing clinic in Langley, Beltone Hearing Centre is the place to go. We are passionate about hearing care, and our healthcare professionals are simply the best in the area. Allow us to help your child get the best possible care—we care for you, and we’ll help make life better and more manageable. Book a consultation with us today.