Childhood Hearing Loss
The Canadian Hearing Society estimates that one in every 1500 babies is born with a hearing loss. By the age of five, 4% of Canadian children will develop some degree of hearing loss. There are many causes of hearing loss in newborn infants, just as there are many childhood diseases responsible for inducing hearing loss in young children.
Signs of Hearing Loss in Children
- the baby does not jump or blink when there is a sudden loud noise
- the three to six month old baby does not stop crying or moving at the sound of a caregivers voice or new sound
- the nine to twelve month old does not turn toward a speaker
If hearing loss is suspected in a baby or child, they should be seen by an ear, nose, and throat specialist to get a proper diagnosis. The child may then be referred to an audiologist to test the child’s hearing. If there is hearing loss the ENT Specialist will decide whether amplification is appropriate and the audiologist will recommend the type of aid. Audiological testing is essential and may need to be repeated several times before an accurate evaluation may be obtained.
If a hearing aid is required, most young children are fitted with behind-the-ear or body aids. No child is too young to wear a hearing aid as the earlier amplification is applied, the better. Quite often two aids will be recommended. Most speech development occurs from birth to four years. The earlier the loss is detected and treated the better the child’s chances of normal language development.
The Listen and Learn Educational Program for Caregivers of Young Children with Hearing Loss is a free, online resource. Click here to learn more.