Tenterfield Star

6 signs to take note of for your child's hearing

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This article is in partnership with Hear and Say.

Generally, hearing loss is caused by a loss in perceived volume at some or all sound frequencies.

Some kids are unable to detect high-pitched sounds or low-frequency audio loss when listening to low to medium pitches.

Children with weakened hearing at lower frequencies have trouble with deciphering speech but can easily hear helicopter flights miles away without problems.

Some children may experience flat hearing loss, meaning they cannot hear sounds in low or high pitch.

Below we'll be taking a closer look at six signs to inspect regarding your child's hearing.

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is a condition affecting the perception of language. It is a common condition for people with hearing impairments, which can be mild to severe.

Sometimes people suffer from hearing loss temporarily, but also permanently. One in six Australians has hearing problems.

You could get a hearing problem anytime you are in your teen years, however the right care can be taken to prevent further hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss in children

To identify hearing loss in children, there are a few things to look out for to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem.

Not startled by loud noises

Infants and toddlers are generally quite responsive to loud sounds, so it should raise some concern if they're unresponsive to sudden breaks in silence.

This is usually the first sign of hearing loss in a child. This is where you'd need to be vigilant as more symptoms could be revealed.

Doesn't respond to sound or voices

This goes hand-in-hand with the first sign of hearing loss, however this applies to children that are more developed.

Being unresponsive to loud noise is a huge red flag and it can indicate that the child has a bad hearing impairment.

This is usually picked up during the newborn hearing screening.

Delayed language development

Hearing is a crucial factor when it comes to the speech development of a child. Being unable to hear will drastically delay the development of speech and this can be picked up by looking at the age of the child and how they communicate.

Abnormal speech

Delayed language development and abnormal speech can be big signs of hearing loss.

This is because certain sounds are harder to hear, and since they can't hear the sounds they're also going to have trouble saying them.

Speech therapy usually helps with this but the main priority is to get hearing tests done.

Trouble hearing over background noise

If a child can't hear well over background noise, they might have auditory processing disorder (APD).

This is an issue where the brain can't process sounds properly and it usually starts during childhood.

Doesn't imitate sounds or words

Imitating sounds or words is a natural learning process for young children. However, if a child doesn't do this, there's a possibility that they might have hearing loss.

This is because they're unable to hear properly and therefore can't mimic the sound.

6 signs to take note of for your child's hearing

Types of hearing loss

Hearing loss can occur in various degrees and there are also different types of them. This includes conductive hearing loss, which is caused by an obstruction in the inner ear.

This can be treated with surgery or medicine. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there's an issue with the way that the inner ear or the nerve works.

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.

Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD) is a type of hearing loss that affects the way that the brain processes sound. This is due to an issue with the inner ear canal or the hearing nerve.

Can hearing loss be prevented?

The majority of people with hearing impairments have permanent hearing loss. And if it's not obvious what's wrong with their hearing it may be causing more harm.

If you are afraid of being affected then your should take steps to limit your exposure to noise, both in terms of peak volume (so never anything too loud) and in terms of time (so nothing loud for very long). However the world has become a noisy place so it can be difficult to reduce the amount of noise that you're exposed to.

When it comes to a child's hearing, it can be difficult to identify it immediately, but early intervention isn't impossible.

There are a series of tests that can be done to identify if a child has hearing problems.

However, it's not the end of the world as hearing aids and other medical technology has made it possible to almost restore hearing loss.