Child Hearing Treatment
Hearing loss at any age is an emotional issue. It robs you of a sense that adds so much to the richness of life. This loss is especially heartbreaking in children. Not only does it impact the sound experience of a life yet to be lived to the fullest, but it also creates a barrier to a child’s number one job, learning. Fortunately, many causes of hearing loss are treatable, and it is often possible to return the sounds of childhood to a young life.
Even though it’s essential to social, emotional, and cognitive development, hearing is often a sense that’s overlooked medically. Early identification and treatment of hearing loss in children can lessen the negative impacts it will have on a child’s development, giving them the opportunity to live up to their full potential socially and academically.
Categories of Hearing Loss
As with adults, hearing loss in children is measured in degrees. The loss can range from mild, one that causes difficulty hearing hushed tones such as a whisper to moderately severe, where the child can still hear loud speech, to a total loss resulting in deafness.
Hearing loss in children typically falls into two main categories. The most common, a conductive hearing loss, is associated with conditions in the external or middle ear that block the transmission of sound. These conditions can include ear infection, fluid in the ear, impacted earwax, a perforated eardrum, a foreign object in the canal or birth defects that alter the canal. Many of these conditions are treatable through minor procedures.
Sensorineural loss, also known as “nerve deafness”, is the second type. This occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or nerve pathways from the inner to the brain. Most often, this type of loss is caused by congenital. It can also be caused by the use of ototoxic drugs (antibiotics), premature birth with a very low birth weight and some of the resulting treatments or a number of other medical conditions. Although there is no cure for this type of hearing loss, in most cases children can often be helped with hearing aids.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, and it may include damage to the outer or middle ear as well as the inner ear or auditory nerve. Treatment options are based primarily on how much of the hearing loss is correctable through surgery, drugs, or other methods. The remaining hearing loss is usually treatable with hearing aids.
Symptoms of Pediatric Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be difficult enough for adults to detect, let alone children, who aren’t always able to articulate the source of their difficulties in life. There are a number of signs to look for if you’re concerned that your child may be suffering from a hearing loss.