Does your child have hearing loss? Is your child at risk of losing their hearing? According to The National Institute on Hearing and Other Communication Disorders, about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. Compare that to the approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. Something is happening as we grow to erode hearing ability. It could be that five out of 6 children experience ear infections by the time they are 3 years old.
Hearing Loss as a Birth Defect
We aren’t sure what causes hearing loss from birth. It could be exposure to toxins during pregnancy, genetic mutations, poor prenatal care, or from viruses that attacked the mother. Women who experienced preeclampsia and gestational diabetes are more likely to give birth to a child who has loss of hearing, than a woman that doesn’t have these issues. The loss of hearing can occur from birth, or it can be diagnosed during childhood. Either way, the earlier a child learns how to cope with their situation, the more functional they will be later on in life.
The Causes of Hearing Loss in Childhood
Otitis Media is the most common cause of childhood hearing loss. These middle ear infections can cause fluid to build up behind the area of the eardrum. In adults, this fluid doesn’t generally get trapped in this area because the Eustachian tubes are fully formed. If the infection in the child isn’t treated quickly, permanent hearing loss can be experienced. Other illnesses that can result in loss of hearing include:
- Chicken pox
Your child may be very young and unable to communicate that they can’t hear you. You may notice that they don’t react to very loud noise or your voice. They may also taper off with the noise that they make because they’re not hearing it. Your pediatrician can help diagnose an issue early on.
Once the issue has been diagnosed, there are potential treatment options. If the issue is being caused by fluid or an illness, a doctor can provide recommendations that will help boost the immune system, treat the infection, and so on. Hearing aids can even be used in children that are as young as one year old.
If you have any concerns, give us a call. We want to make sure any underlying conditions are being treated that may be reducing hearing and causing other problems in the body. Ear infections are super common, but not something to be taken lightly as they can cause permanent hearing loss, if left untreated. We are here to help.