Hearing is vital to the development and quality of life for babies and children. They literally soak up information by hearing the world around them – By hearing others speak and communicate, being read to, learning to speak, hearing music and learning rhythm…the list goes on and on. So what can be done for children that experience hearing loss at a very young age? Read on to learn the facts of hearing loss in babies and children and what can be done to help them.
About 665,000 babies around the world are born with hearing loss each year. In the womb, babies have had several months to experience hearing before being born into the world. With hearing loss, the brain does not receive acoustic stimuli, causing a baby or child’s development to be delayed – and it can be hard to make up for any time lost later on down the road. Experts have stated that the earlier hearing loss is diagnosed and a treatment plan is established, the greater the chances for each child to have normal development at his or her actual age.
Half of all prenatal hearing loss cases are genetic while the other half can be caused due to an infection the mother may have had during pregnancy in addition to complications at birth which include head injury or undiagnosed and untreated ear infections. Toys that are too loud can also cause irreversible problems to little ones’ ears so be cautious when choosing toys that make noise for your child. Also, don’t have the television or radio blasting because this too can affect your child’s hearing…and yours as well.
Luckily, there is a neonatal hearing screening available that does not take long and is a pain-free exam to test a baby’s hearing. The exam should be utilized after two days of your baby being born but not before because sometimes amniotic fluid can still be in the ears which can cause the test results to not be accurate.
If you believe your young child may have a hearing problem, do not be discouraged. With a proper diagnosis and treatment, your child can recover quickly. Having your child fitted for hearing aids at an early stage of hearing loss is crucial for age-appropriate development. Contact your pediatrician for more information and ask for a great recommendation for a specialist.