Pediatric Hearing Loss

It’s essential to get a diagnosis so you treat the proper cause.

Hearing loss is not the only issue involving the ears.

Pediatric Hearing Loss

 

Hospitals routinely screen newborns for hearing loss. Detection and intervention by the age of six months have been shown to lead to better outcomes. But hearing loss in children can present itself at any time, so parents need to stay alert to the signs.

 

Treatments for pediatric hearing loss

 

Most parents will only need to deal with childhood ear infections, but if your child exhibits the signs of hearing loss, you should have your child evaluated by an audiologist. Special hearing tests are designed for infants as young as six months old.  Hearing tests can be done on children at any age in the office, even newborns.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids work for children with hearing loss just as they do for adults. Special accessories are available for children to prevent the youngest ones from removing them. Models range from behind-the-ear hearing aids to ones that are in the ear or canal.

Hearing Aids
Speech Therapy

In addition to technology, children who have a hearing loss that has affected their speech might need speech-language therapy.

Speech Therapy
Cochlear Implants

For children or infants who don’t receive any benefit from wearing a hearing aid, there are cochlear implants designed especially for them.

Cochlear Implants
Assistive Listening Devices

For school-aged children and youth, assistive listening devices can be helpful in the classroom setting. The teacher wears a special microphone that transmits directly to the child’s hearing aid or cochlear implant. This helps filter out background noise so your child hears the teacher more clearly.

Assistive Listening Devices

Causes of hearing loss

 

Hearing loss in infants and children is classified into three basic types:

  • Congenital (from birth)

  • Acquired (develops after birth)

  • Transient (comes and goes)

 

Congenital hearing loss

 

When infants are born with hearing loss, it is classified as congenital whether the hearing loss is genetic or non-genetic. This type of hearing loss accounts for half of all hearing loss in infants and children.

 

Genetic hearing loss is hereditary. In most cases, the hearing loss is autosomal recessive, meaning that both hearing parents have the recessive gene. Autosomal dominant hearing loss indicates that one parent has the dominant gene, whether or not the parent has hearing loss. Genetic syndromes, such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome among others, account for the rest of hereditary hearing loss.

 

Non-genetic causes of congenital hearing loss are numerous and not always apparent in explaining the

hearing loss. Reasons for non-genetic hearing loss include premature birth, birth complications, and exposure to infection. ​

 

Acquired hearing loss

 

Children can suffer hearing loss for all the same reasons as adults do, including exposure to loud noise.

Other reasons include untreated ear infections, perforated eardrum, other infections (such as meningitis), head injury, or medications that are toxic to the ear.

 

Taking NSAIDs or other ototoxic medications can also lead to hearing loss.

Transient hearing loss

Middle ear infections in children can lead to temporary hearing loss. Three-quarters of children will experience at least one ear infection by the time they are three years old. So although infections are common, they need to be treated promptly.

 

What to watch for

 

Whether congenital, acquired or transient, hearing loss can interfere with your child’s speech development, which can impact his or her social development as well. It’s important to monitor your child’s developmental milestones. If anything leads you to suspect that your child isn’t hearing properly, see your pediatrician right away. Early intervention is key.

 

Early diagnosis and intervention leads to better outcomes. Never hesitate to seek professional assessment.

 

Baker ENT offers full services to children with hearing loss, from assessment to treatment. Schedule an appointment for your child so we can diagnosis the hearing problem and start treating it right away.