Hearing Loss in Children

child3According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, every 2 out of 100 children under 18 years of age suffer from some degree of hearing loss conditions. It is necessary to detect signs of hearing trouble early in life so it can be treated and cured and the child is fitted with effective hearing aids.. Early diagnosis, coupled with special education programs can really help a child to successfully develop language skills. Let’s see some of the causes and symptoms of hearing loss in children.

Causes for Hearing Loss in Children

Hearing loss in children can be congenital and acquired in nature. Congenital reasons are those present during birth and acquired reasons are those gained after birth.

Nearly fifty-percent of all congenital hearing loss in children is caused due to genetic factors. In this, either of the parents has a dominant hearing loss gene and passes it to the child, implying 50% probability. If either of the parents has recessive hearing loss gene, there is a 25% probability for the child. Other factors for congenital sensorineural hearing loss range from prenatal infections from illnesses or toxins consumed by the pregnant mother. The hearing loss could range from mild to severe. Maternal diabetes, lack of oxygen, Rh factor complication, herpes simplex virus, rubella and premature birth are some other congenital reasons.

In acquired hearing loss in children, we have causes like chicken pox, meningitis, measles, influenza, mumps, head injuries, noise exposure, encephalitis, ear infections and consumption of ototoxic drugs. The acquired conditions are the result of an injury or disease ‘acquired’ after birth.

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Symptoms of Hearing Loss in Children

From the birth to four years of age is a crucial time for language and speech development. To know whether a child has hearing loss symptoms, use the given questionnaire. If the answer is ‘no’ in most cases, take the child to a health care center immediately. Here’s the questionnaire.

Does the child –

  • Respond to familiar voices or get startled to hear loud noises?
  • Awaken on hearing loud noises?
  • Respond to cooing and laughing?
  • Smile when anyone is talking to him/her and turn eyes towards familiar sounds?
  • Enjoy the sound coming from rattling toys?
  • Make babbling sounds indicating needs?
  • Cry when he/she needs something?
  • Understand simple actions like a hand waving in ‘bye-bye’ motion or respond to words like ‘hello’?
  • Turn his head, move his eyes or respond in any other way on hearing his/her name?
  • Understand change in tone of voice and responds accordingly?
  • Try to repeat simple words or makes simple requests by babbling?
  • Use his/her voice to attract the attention of an elder person?
  • Follow simple commands and point to certain objects when named?
  • Show interest in listening to stories and rhymes?
  • Understand body parts and try to speak when spoken to?
  • Try to talk?

The questionnaire will apply to a child till 24-36 months of age. The time is enough to comprehend whether he/she has any hearing loss symptoms or not. If he/she has, immediate medical attention is necessary so that he/she gets the best medical attention in the form of hearing aids.