After birth, a newborn baby's hearing is similar to that of an adult's, but babies must learn how to use their hearing to form the foundations of communication. They need to hear the sounds of their language repeatedly so they can associate sounds with words. They learn to listen and experience the world by associating sounds to things, whether it's the sound of water running at bath time or a soothing lullaby when it's time for sleep. In general, newborns will move or widen their eyes when they hear a loud sound.
Most children with hearing loss are born to parents with normal hearing. That means the entire family may have a lot to learn about living with the condition. It's always beneficial to detect and treat hearing loss. However, when hearing loss occurs in a young child, it's particularly important to find it and treat it early. While the child's language abilities are still developing, the ability to hear is crucial.
You may find out your child has hearing loss when he's born, or he might be diagnosed later in childhood. Either way, the most important thing to do is to get the right treatment as early as possible. If you understand more about the condition, you can get your child the help he needs so he can learn, play, and keep up with other kids his age. A possible hearing loss is more difficult to identify in older children, whose speech skills are already developed.
Young children can lose their hearing after they get some illnesses, including meningitis, encephalitis, measles, chickenpox, and the flu. Head injuries, very loud noises, and some medications can also cause hearing loss. Unless your child was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth, you'll probably be the first person to notice if he has trouble picking up on sounds.
Some early signs of a problem may include:
● Your child seems to hear fine some of the time and then not respond at other times
● Your child wants the TV volume louder than other members of the family
● Your child says "What?" more often
● Your child moves one ear forward when listening, or he complains that he can only hear out of his "good ear"
● Your child's grades fall or their teacher notes that they do not seem to hear or respond as well in the classroom as other children
● Your child says that they didn't hear you. This may seem obvious, but many parents assume that their children are not paying attention when in fact there may be an unidentified hearing loss
● It seems as though your child is just not paying attention
● Your child starts to speak more loudly than previously
● If your child looks at you intensely when you speak to them, as if concentrating, they may be depending more on visual cues for interpreting speech
● Your child pulls on or rubs an ear
● Your child has a fever or ear pain
● Your child is constantly cranky for no clear reason
● Your child stops paying attention
● Your child has little energy
● The baby doesn't startle at loud noises
❛With early treatment and support, children with hearing loss are more likely to learn to communicate and to participate in school and other activities. If you suspect that your child has a hearing loss, you should contact your family doctor or health care professional.❜