Having to live without the use of one or more sensory abilities like sight, smell, and hearing can be very difficult, but this is a real challenge that individuals of all ages across the globe deal with daily. Even children can be affected by such issues, and hearing loss in children affects tens of millions worldwide. Some are born with hearing problems, while others develop them over time. This guide will look at causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
3 causes of hearing loss in children
There are many potential causes of hearing loss in children. While genetic factors link to many cases, there are also plenty of situations in which children with hearing loss are born to parents who have perfectly normal hearing.
Here are some of the most common causes:
1. Otitis media
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear. It’s the most commonly diagnosed disease in infants and young children.
It occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear, due to the fact that the tubes connecting the middle ear and nose are very small and not fully developed in very young people. Because of this fluid build-up, it can become difficult for the ears to function as normal. In the most severe cases, otitis media can lead to total hearing loss.
Congenital hearing loss refers to babies that are born with hearing loss, rather than children who develop it over time. Genetic hearing loss comes in various forms, including X-linked hearing loss, autosomal recessive hearing loss, and autosomal dominant hearing loss.
The specifics of these different variations can vary, but they all link with the child’s DNA. There are also other potential causes of congenital hearing loss, like infections that pass from mother to baby, premature birth, or anoxia.
Acquired hearing loss is when a child loses hearing after being born. This can be a gradual process.
It may link with infections like otitis media, meningitis, measles, or influenza. Or, it can be a more instantaneous process, often associated with head injuries and accidents.
4. Speech therapy
Whether online or in-person, speech therapy sessions can help your child to overcome communication challenges related to their hearing loss. A certified and experienced speech therapist can help them with forming speech sounds and reinforce their learning in school.
Symptoms of hearing loss in children
Pediatric hearing loss can have a myriad of effects for children of various ages. In very young kids, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs, as the child won’t be able to orally explain the nature of their problem.
Common signs include:
- No reaction to sounds and noises
- No response to a parent’s voice
- The child making very small sounds
- Pulling on the ears
- Ear pain
- Ear discomfort
- Lack of focus
Treatment options for hearing loss in children
Fortunately, even though hearing loss is a widespread problem, there are many ways to treat it to improve the lives of affected youngsters and their families. Here are a few possible treatment methods to consider:
Sometimes, the simple act of waiting and resting may be all that is needed for ear infections and minor issues to go away on their own.
A pediatrician may also recommend certain medications. That’s especially true if the child is dealing with inner-ear infections or other issues that might connect to their hearing loss.
Tubes and hearing loss in children
Tubes may be used to drain fluid out of the ears and reduce the risk of infections like otitis media.
Children with hearing loss may be able to make use of hearing aids to improve their auditory abilities and make it easier for them to hear and communicate.
A lot of kids unable to hear are also being given cochlear implants. These are special devices, placed inside the inner ear, which aid with hearing.
It’s important to speak with pediatric hearing specialists to diagnose the nature of each child’s hearing loss. Then, determine the best possible course of action for dealing with the problem.
A few last words
Hearing loss in children is a problem affecting millions of families worldwide. It can have many causes and take many forms.
But, as this guide shows, there are also many ways doctors can help to ease the issue and bring comfort and happiness back to the lives of affected youngsters.