Children, despite a few scrapes and colds here and there, are supposed to be young and healthy. However, it’s important as parents that we keep our eyes open for any symptoms that may indicate otherwise. One of the most difficult things to catch can be hearing problems as these may often disguise themselves as behavioral issues or other common issues that young children face.
The good news? With a deeper understanding of common hearing disorders and whether or not your child’s hearing is being affected by them, you can better prepare for their future. If you believe that your child may be dealing with hearing problems, take the first step by learning more about common hearing issues that could be affecting your child.
Does your child have a problem with their hearing?
Hearing loss isn’t always as apparent as we expect it to be. In fact, it may have a minor impact on your child’s quality of life. However, like any health issue, it’s imperative that you do what you can in order to prevent further possible damage and complications. Some signs of hearing problems in children include:
- Difficulty understanding and communicating with others (especially in a noisy environment)
- Difficulty hearing external sounds that others in the home hear or having little response to loud sounds.
- Turning up the sound on media devices or earphones to understand what’s going on
- Issues with language development and missing significant milestones that other school-age children have met.
- Problems with speech sounds and overall academic issues at school.
The overall impact on your child will depend upon the degree of hearing loss and the type of hearing loss they’re experiencing. The first step is to keep an eye out for signs of hearing loss like those listed above, no matter how subtle they may be.
What are some of the causes of hearing loss?
There are many reasons why a child may be dealing with hearing loss. Whether it’s mild hearing loss or moderate hearing loss, some common causes at the root of hearing loss include ear infections (especially certain types like otitis media, which affects the middle ear and Eustachian tubes), head injuries, exposure to loud noises, earwax buildup, certain prescription medications, and even birth complications.
Of course, normal hearing can be impacted by problems other than hearing loss. In fact, your child may be dealing with tinnitus instead. Tinnitus patients will often talk about hearing noises like buzzing, hissing, roaring, whistling, or ringing when there is no discernible source of a sound. However, the symptoms of tinnitus are generally indicative of an underlying condition, which can range anything from the flu to permanent hearing loss.
If your child suffered any of the above causes and is showing symptoms of hearing loss, discuss this with your primary care physician so that you can begin to treat any serious issues and get a referral to the right specialists.
What’s the next step?
So, what’s the next step? If you believe your child may have hearing loss or another hearing issue like tinnitus, reach out to a hearing specialist that can administer a hearing test and help you get a proper diagnosis. Then, you can begin to discuss possible treatment options. For example, if you know that your child is dealing with the impact of tinnitus, a trip to the specialist can help you learn more about the symptoms as well as some of the potential cures for tinnitus or tinnitus treatment options.
In some cases, tinnitus symptoms can be treated when the underlying disorder is treated. In others, tinnitus management will be the main focus as your specialist provides you with solutions like hearing aids, cochlear implants, or maskers (masking devices play white noise to drown out symptoms of tinnitus) as well as cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of counseling to teach them relaxation techniques so they can cope with the psychological side effects. No matter whether your newborn or toddler is showing symptoms of deafness, there is hope!
Don’t let your child’s hearing problems impact their life. If you have reason to believe that they may have issues with their hearing, use the guide above to learn about the signs and symptoms, and take the next step in helping them get the treatment they need.