Get a Hearing Test
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Hearing loss is the most common congenital condition in the country, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. About 33 babies are born daily with a degree of hearing loss. But, hearing loss may also result from factors such as noise levels or severe ear infections. Hearing plays a significant role in skills such as language development and academic learning. It's essential to ensure your child's hearing is OK early on and to protect it as she grows.
All newborns should have their hearing tested before they leave the hospital, recommends the AAP. Children with hearing loss rarely have risk factors, so routine early screening takes the guesswork out of whether parents should or should not have their children tested. If your child hasn't had a hearing exam yet, schedule an appointment for him with your doctor or pediatrician as soon as possible. Early intervention---such as speech-language development programs---can improve your child's learning and communication skills.
Children may experience noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL when exposed to a loud sound or to one that lasts too long---which damages the tiny sensory cells in the inner ear, explains National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders or NIDCD. It's worse if the sound is too close, which is why health professionals recommend keeping low volumes on radios, TV or headphones. Don't expose your child to loud noises at home, such as drills or lawnmowers. Encourage your child to listen to his mobile audio device at a low volume. Let your child wear hearing protectors if he'll be in a loud environment for a prolonged period.
Hearing loss occurs gradually and often goes unnoticed. It's not unusual to miss the signs until advanced or permanent hearing loss occurs, warns the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms your child may exhibit include constantly asking people to repeat information, listening to the television too loudly, or an inability to hear distant sounds such as birds singing, doorbells, or the telephone. Your child may also look at to read your lips when you're speaking, or start to avoid social situations.
About 75 percent of children will have an ear infection or otitis media by the time they're three, according to the NIDCD. When fluid accumulates behind the eardrum, bacteria grow leading to inflammation of the middle ear. Ear infections often develop after your child has a cold or sore throat, the NIDCD explains. Poorly treated or repeated ear infections can cause hearing loss. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
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