Parental Guide to Indicators of Childhood Hearing Problems

Based on data from the National Institutes of Health, out of every 1,000 children in the United States, 2 to 3 are born deaf or with impaired hearing abilities. During childhood, hearing loss may occur from physical injury, disease, exposure to loud noises, or structural abnormalities in the ear. Whatever the cause, testing hearing early is key, because the sooner any hearing problems are detected, the better the child’s chances of attaining their full educational and developmental potential.

As a parent, there are many signs of hearing problems that you should be watchful for. In babies, such signs include the child failing to be startled by loud noises, turning his or her head when he sees you but not when you call his or her name, not turning toward the source of a sound after the age of 6 months, or seeming to hear some sounds, but not others.

Otitis media will often cause children to complain of ear pain, but other signs to look for are pulling at or rubbing the ears, failing to understand instructions or increasing the TV volume. Other warning signs are if your child uses the words “huh?” or “what?” many times a day, has difficulty locating the source of sounds, or watches people’s faces carefully as they are speaking. Hearing loss is a serious concern. Even mild hearing loss can lead to delays in language and speech development and manifest in poor school performance.

This is the reason that many states have instituted mandatory early hearing screenings, using tests that are completely painless, and that can be conducted even on babies. Children are never too young to have their hearing tested, because the sooner hearing problems are identified, the sooner they can be corrected. So give us a call. We’d be happy to schedule a hearing screening for your child or children and to help if any hearing problems are found.

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