Hearing loss occurs when a part of the way fails to function like it’s supposed to. This could occur in the middle ear, auditory nerves, outer ear, or inner ear and can be detected by a hearing test. Loss of hearing can affect your child’s speech development, language, and social skills. A majority of children diagnosed with hearing loss have parents with normal hearing meaning that the child’s family may need to learn about the condition and how to manage it. Keep reading as we explore three things you can do once you suspect that your child may be suffering from hearing loss.
1. Learn the signs and symptoms of hearing loss.
Like with every other medical condition, signs and symptoms of hearing loss differ in children. In infants, for instance, hearing loss may manifest as your child failing to be startled by loud noises, delayed speech (if they are unable to sound out basic words such as “mama” by age one), and if they do not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age. In older children, common signs to look out for include delayed speech, difficulty following instructions, trouble understanding speech or taking direction, and a ringing in the ears (tinnitus)—to mention a few.
2. Learn the common causes of hearing impairment.
There are different types of hearing loss, and in children, hearing impairment may result from otitis media which is an infection of the middle ear that occurs in young children. When the Eustachian tubes (these connect the middle ear and the nose and are responsible for draining fluid from the middle ear, located behind the eardrum) aren’t fully developed, a fluid build-up occurs in the eardrum which then causes the ear to be infected.
In some cases of hearing impairment, children are born with hearing problems. In such instances, the condition may be hereditary, and in other cases, it may result from a birth injury. If the mother developed medical conditions such as gestational diabetes, the child may develop sensorineural hearing loss as a result of this. If the child is born prematurely they may also be at risk for developing severe hearing loss.
Young children can lose their hearing after suffering from diseases such as the flu, chickenpox, and meningitis. Head injuries, very loud noises, and some medications can also cause deafness.
3. Find out what treatment options are available.
While there is no cure for hearing impairment, the severity of your hearing loss will determine the kind of treatment option that your audiologist will recommend. Common treatments options will include the following:
- Medication—depending on the type of hearing loss, your child’s audiologist may recommend medication for your child
- Hearing aid— this an assistive listening device that is used to improve your child’s hearing. Children can begin to use these from the age of one month. This electronic device can either be worn inside or behind the ear to amplify sound for the wearer. A hearing aid is composed of a microphone, to pick ambient sound, an amplifier to increase the loudness, and a receiver that transfers sound signals to the wearer’s ear. Some of the best hearing aids brands recommended by audiologists include Starkey, Phonak, Widex, and Lyric.
- Cochlear implants—children with profound hearing loss may be advised to get cochlear implants after hearing aids haven’t helped.
Several other hearing devices can help children with hearing impairment so be sure to ask your audiologist what pair of hearing aids might be right for your child.
4. Adjust your child’s feeding methods.
If your infant has a hearing aid, you may hear some feedback from the hearing aid while bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. That high-pitched noise is more irritating to you than to your little one. You can remove the hearing aid if the sound becomes too bothersome. There are several breast pump options on the market, so finding a good breast pump can be overwhelming. To make it simpler, here are some of the best breast pumps 2020 options that you can choose from.
Double electric breast pumps and single electric breast pumps are electric pumps set to different levels of suction that suction the milk for you. do the work of suctioning the milk out for you, with different levels of suction and expression levels. Most moms use these with a hands-free pumping bra. The hospital-grade pump is an electric double pump with the highest suction available. Manual pumps rely on natural letdown and don’t require electricity and the wireless pump fits directly into your bra is hands-free.
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