CHILDREN’S HEARING2019-08-31T10:59:10+00:00

Hearing Loss in Children

Take yourself back to your childhood. The sound of laughter, the smell of chocolate, the taste of ice cream, the touch of a teddy, the sight of a play park or sand on the beach. So much of our young lives were filled with discovery of our five senses! Adventure after adventure opened us up to a whole world of possibilities. Our imaginations were alive and bursting with creativity. It is the same for every child today. Each day is a new voyage of discovery.

But what happens when the child loses one of their senses? Take for example hearing. This can have a detrimental effect on their overall development. The world becomes a very different place in which to inhabit. The good news is that when it comes to hearing loss and children, over 60% of hearing loss is preventable! But as with all things, the sooner one takes action, the better.

The total prevalence at school entry of unilateral (in one ear) and bilateral (in both ears) mild to profound hearing loss is thought to be of the order of 3 to 4 per 1,000; that means between 3,000 to 4,500 preschool and school age children in Ireland will have a permanent hearing impairment, with potential consequences for education, communication, literacy, social and emotional development, and later employability.

childrens hearing test

Paediatric Audiologist

Just after the birth of a child, a neonatal hearing test can be taken to examine the child’s hearing. This is a pain-free exam which determines the hearing health of the child a few days after birth. If the child does not pass the test, you should consult one of our paediatric audiologists at your earliest convenience.

If your child is older and is presenting with difficulty in hearing or speech development, it is also important to make an appointment to see a paediatric audiologist as soon as possible.

Remember the quicker the action, the better the outcome!

What Causes Hearing Loss in Children?

  • Hearing loss in children can occur for various reasons. Congenital hearing loss is the term given to hearing loss at birth. Hearing loss that occurs after birth is referred to as acquired hearing loss.
  • Genetic factors can contribute greatly to congenital hearing loss, but it can also arise from other things, such as infection during pregnancy, prematurity, birth injuries, etc.
  • Acquired hearing loss can also arise from many different things, such as frequent ear infections, infections like meningitis or the measles, head injuries, and over exposure to very loud noises.
  • Often your child will show no indication of hearing loss, but it is still important to ensure they receive a hearing screening as they grow. It can be difficult to pick up on milder hearing loss and so, screenings are recommended at various key moments in a child’s development: when they start going to school, at least once during primary school and once during secondary school.
  • Hearing screening is usually required more often for children with other health or learning needs; family history of early hearing loss, language, speech or developmental delays; are all risk factors and as such, require more frequent testing.

So what signs of hearing loss should adults watch out for in a child?

  • Delays in the development of a child’s speaking ability and their use of language in comparison to others of a similar age
  • Unsure where exactly a sound is coming from
  • Poor attention span and behaviour
  • Difficulty in hearing soft sounds or people speaking when there are no distractions
  • Frequent use of terms like “what?” “pardon” or “huh?“
  • If a child is not quick to hear things
  • Paying particular attention to the faces of people who are speaking
  • Struggling to understand what’s being said when there’s noise in the background
  • Sitting close to the television or increasing the volume on the TV or radio to extremely loud levels
  • Struggling with academic studies

  • Continually having to switch ears while on the phone

  • Having little or no reaction to sudden, loud noises

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