Did you know hearing difficulties in childhood can cause a ripple effect of issues that harm the child’s ability to learn and hit development milestones?
As a parent, you want the best outcome possible for your child. So, it makes sense that you are paying attention to cognitive, emotional, and social development cues. If your child has even minor hearing loss or vision issues, then the decreased ability to use these senses could negatively impact their development.
How Often are Pediatric Hearing Tests?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH), hearing problems affect 3 out of every 1000 babies.
Hearing tests are commonly administered to both infants and school-age children. When a new baby is born, the nurses usually perform a hearing test to check for the earliest signs of a congenital hearing disability.
Periodic hearing testing continues when children visit the doctor for regular checkups or attend school. But just because your child is getting a hearing test at school doesn’t mean you are receiving sufficient information about the child’s hearing levels.
These preliminary hearing tests help identify potential warning signs. If an issue is uncovered, then you will be referred to an audiologist for thorough testing and diagnostics.
Early Intervention is Best
The sooner you know your child is experiencing hearing problems, the more effective you can be in finding resources to support the child’s needs. The goal is to optimize the child’s hearing whenever possible, giving them every advantage in the classroom and social settings.
A children’s hearing test usually takes between 20 – 40 minutes. Not only do we use testing techniques to see how the child is responding to different noises, but it’s also important to discuss the child’s health with the parents.
Additionally, our comprehensive diagnostic process includes a look into your child’s ears. If there is a buildup of earwax or congestion behind the eardrums, minimally invasive treatments might improve the child’s hearing.
Children’s Hearing Test: What to Expect
Hearing tests for infants and developing children engage the child in the activity a little more. Potential testing techniques might include:
- Conditioning Play Audiometry (CPA): A testing procedure that involves the child performing an action when they hear specific sounds. This game-style testing method is most effective for children between the ages of six months and three years.
- Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA): Another option is to use visual cues to see how the child is responding to sounds. Speakers in the testing area make sounds, with the audiologist observing the child’s reactions to the different sounds.
Children’s Audiology: Diagnosis, Treatments, and Services
Our pro team at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat is proactively engaged in helping your child maintain healthy hearing levels for a lifetime. We take a proactive approach to support families in creating ideal conditions to promote learning and growth.
When you choose a pediatric ENT or audiologist, you can have confidence knowing that the doctors specialize in common conditions in the earliest years of life.
We understand that hearing is foundational to many aspects of the child’s life. If you suspect that your child might have hearing problems, then we invite you to reach out for a hearing test in our office.
Causes of Hearing Loss in Children
Hearing loss is a common problem that occurs with age. Exposure to loud sounds and environmental factors, combined with the physical decline of aging, can influence a person’s ability to hear as they get older.
But there are times when hearing loss occurs in young children. Here is an overview of some of the most common causes of hearing loss in children:
- Premature birth
- Birth complications
- Spending time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
- Family history of childhood hearing loss
- Newborn jaundice requiring a blood transfusion
- Multiple or chronic ear infections
- Use of medications with hearing loss side effects
- Health infections, such as cytomegalovirus or meningitis
- Exposure to loud noises or sounds
Sometimes, the cause of hearing loss is simple: a buildup of fluid and wax in the ear that blocks the ear canal. This problem is easy to treat and often gets better as the child grows.
If another health condition is the underlying cause of hearing loss, then it’s critical to discuss treatment options with your doctor.
Warning Signs of Hearing Loss in Children
Children usually don’t have the understanding or language skills to communicate that something is wrong with their hearing. As a parent, watch for potential signs of hearing loss so you can schedule a hearing test if needed.
Be aware of how the child’s behavior might be changing due to hearing issues. Sometimes hearing loss occurs suddenly, and you will notice an immediate difference. Other times, the child experiences a gradual hearing loss which is less noticeable as it progresses.
Typical symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Slow to talk or repeat language modeling from siblings and parents
- Learning challenges in school
- The child doesn’t respond when you call to them
- Persistently loud talking
- Asking inappropriate questions
- Requests for family members or friends to repeat themselves
- Always turning up the TV volume to an uncomfortable level for others in the room
Why Early Intervention Matters
Early intervention is always the best solution. Keep in mind that most types of hearing loss are irreversible – once it happens, there is no way to restore their hearing.
But certain types of hearing loss can be slowed. Early intervention helps you address preventable conditions in the beginning stages to avoid the progression of this hearing loss.
Hearing loss is a significant inconvenience for people of all ages, but especially concerning when it happens to young children. Since children rely on sounds and environmental cues to learn, even small amounts of hearing loss can inhibit their education and development.
Avoid these developmental issues by talking to our team right away. We’ll perform a hearing test and help you create the optimal treatment plan for your child’s unique needs.
Schedule a Hearing Test for Your Child
Do you live in the Collin County or Dallas areas and want to schedule a hearing test for your child? Contact us at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat to book an appointment. We can complete hearing tests at either of our office locations: in Frisco or Plano, TX. Call us or submit our online form if you want to request an appointment: (972) 596-4005.