Whether you are young or old, you may experience hearing loss. According to experts at the Academy of Audiology, nearly 12% of younger kids from age 6 through the teen years have hearing loss resulting from noise. Of all birth defects, hearing loss presents itself more often than any other congenital defect in the United States. According to the American Speech and Language Association, that number translates to around 12,000 kids each year who are born with hearing loss.
Speech and reading skills may be adversely affected by hearing loss. – During the formative years between birth and 3, kids have a keen ability to learn language skills. Hearing is vital to normal speech development because this process begins in young children with the ability to listen. In order for children to learn proper reading skills, they must first develop good language skills.
Childhood hearing losses aren’t necessarily lifelong.
– Not all hearing loss is the result of a long term permanent defect. Minor conditions such as a build up of earwax or an infection could cause reversible hearing loss. Medical treatment or minor surgery could be the solution to some hearing loss issues, but early intervention is vital. Ear infections left untreated could cause permanent hearing loss, so be sure to seek medical attention right away when there is a possibility of ear infections.
Language development is positively impacted by early intervention. – The earlier in life that hearing losses are identified, the more likely the child is to develop fully normal language skills. Due to earlier treatment, infants whose hearing loss was detected at age 6 months or younger proved to develop better language skills than kids whose hearing impairment wasn’t discovered until after 6 months of age.
Permanent hearing loss can be avoided. – It may be surprising to note that noise related hearing loss is 100 percent avoidable. It’s important to learn how to use protective gear such as earplugs and earmuffs to prevent loud noises from causing damage. And, be sure to keep the volume down on electronic devices.
Parents may be the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss in kids.
– Many times parents are the first to recognize signs of hearing loss in infants and small children. Response to your voice, noticing noises that toys make (such as rattles), and making babbling sounds are all signs to observe for to ensure infants have normal hearing. When babies are nine months or older you should notice that they understand and respond to basic requests and mimic sounds and noises made by others. To learn more about recommended screenings and benchmarks to evaluate normal hearing in young kids, consult a hearing specialist or audiologist.