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Hearing Loss in Children

What is Hearing Loss in Children?

Four out of every thousand newly born babies in the U.S are diagnosed with some degree of hearing loss. And about three million children under the age of 18 are living with some hearing loss. Whether your child was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth or is experiencing some hearing difficulties lately, it is important to get the right treatment as early as possible to ensure your child keeps up with other kids his/her age.

If your child is exhibiting the symptoms of hearing loss, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with a skilled and experienced pediatric otolaryngologist at Eastside ENT specialists in Ohio. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care for your child.

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Types of Hearing Loss

There are three main types of hearing loss in children as well as adults:

  1. Conductive Hearing Loss occurs due to problem in the functions of ear canal, eardrum or the middle ear usually caused by an infection, tumor or trauma.
  2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss is due to damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, auditory nerve or brain. Noise exposure, old age and genes may be the cause.
  3. Mixed Hearing Loss can be caused by trauma or infection effecting outer or middle ear as well as inner ear or auditory nerve. It is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

What Causes Hearing Loss in Children?

Following are some of the most common causes of hearing loss in children:

Ear Infections:

Chronic or recurring ear infections or Otitis Media is one of the biggest causes of temporary hearing loss in children. If left untreated, permanent hearing loss is also possible. Underdeveloped Eustachian tubes in children may lead to infected fluid building up behind the eardrum impairing your child’s hearing.

Problems at Birth:

Following factors during pregnancy and after birth can lead to hearing loss in children.

  • Mother suffering from diabetes or preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Mother had a viral infection, flu or German measles
  • The child was in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for more than five days
  • The child received antibiotic medication through a needle in a vein
  • The child born with unusually structured outer, middle or inner ear

Illness:

Following illnesses among infants and young children may lead to hearing loss:

  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Measles
  • Chickenpox
  • Flu
  • A neurological disorder

What are the Symptoms of Hearing Loss in Children?

Following are some of the common symptoms of hearing loss in infants caused by ear infections or otherwise:

  • Pulling, scratching or tugging of the ear
  • Irritability
  • Fever
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Does not startle or react to noises
  • Does not babble or imitate sounds
  • Continues to sleep in the presence of loud noises

Some common symptoms among children experiencing hearing difficulties are as follows:

  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Earache
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Lack of focus or attention
  • Inability to understand directions
  • Delay in speech development
  • Has a hard time listening TV at normal volume

What are the Risk Factors for Hearing Loss in Children?

Some important risk factors for hearing loss in a child are as under:

  • Has individuals in the family with permanent or progressive hearing loss
  • Born prematurely or underweight
  • Has recurring ear infections

How is Hearing Loss in Children Diagnosed?

Depending on the age of your child following diagnostic procedures may be used:

  • In newborns, the Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) test with a microphone to record inner ears response may be used. The Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) can help to measure brain wave activity
  • For infants over 6 months, the Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) test may be perfect. It uses a series of sounds the child is asked to respond to, rewarding them with entertaining visuals.
  • In children above 2 years of age, Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA) involving a simple play activity on a audio clue can be a helpful pediatric hearing test
  • An Audiogram may also be used to measure the degree of hearing loss

How is Hearing Loss in Children Treated?

Depending on the underlying cause of pediatric hearing loss, following treatments may be recommended by the pediatric ENT specialist:

  • Medication may be prescribed to treat infections and other treatable diseases
  • To prevent recurring infections and to allow infected fluid to drain, a small ear tube may be surgically placed
  • For more permanent Sensorineural hearing loss options like hearing aids and cochlear implants are available

Hearing Loss in Children can negatively affect the quality of life and delay their development. If your child is exhibiting the symptoms of hearing loss, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with a skilled and experienced pediatric otolaryngologist at Eastside ENT specialists in Ohio. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care for your child.