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SYMPTOMS OF HEARING LOSS IN YOUNG CHILDREN
If your baby does not pass the hearing screening, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a hearing loss. Because debris or fluid in the ear can interfere with the test, it’s often redone to confirm a diagnosis.
If your newborn doesn’t pass the initial hearing screening, it’s important to get a retest within 3 months in order to start treatment right away. Treatment for hearing loss can be the most effective if it’s started by the time a child is 6 months old.
Kids who seem to have normal hearing should continue to have their hearing evaluated at regular appointments. Hearing tests are usually done at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18, and any other time if there’s a concern.
- Most newborn infants startle or “jump” to sudden loud noises.
- By 3 months, a baby usually recognizes a parent’s voice.
- By 6 months, an infant can usually turn his or her eyes or head toward a sound.
- By 12 months, a child can usually imitate some sounds and produce a few words, such as “Mama” or “bye-bye”.
As your baby grows into a toddler, signs of a hearing loss may include:
- limited, poor, or no speech
- frequently inattentive
- difficulty learning
- often increases the volume on the TV
- fails to respond to conversation- level speech or answers inappropriately to speech
WHEN SHOULD HEARING BE EVALUATED?
Most children who are born with a hearing loss can be diagnosed through a hearing screening. But in some cases, the hearing loss is caused by things like infections, trauma, and damaging noise levels, and the problem doesn’t emerge until later in childhood. So it’s important to have kids’ hearing evaluated regularly as they grow.
Your newborn will likely have a hearing screening before being discharged from the hospital. If your baby doesn’t have this screening, or was born at home or a birthing center, it’s important to have a hearing screening within the first 3 weeks of life.
CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS
Hearing loss is a common birth defect, affecting about 1 to 3 out of every 1,000 babies. A number of factors can lead to hearing loss, and about half the time, no cause is found.
Hearing loss can occur if a child:
- was born prematurely
- stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit
- had high bilirubin requiring a transfusion
- was given medications that can lead to hearing loss
- has a family history of childhood hearing loss
- had complications at birth
- had frequent ear infections; had infections such as meningitis or cytomegalovirus
- exposed to very loud sounds or noises even of brief duration
SYMPTOMS OF HEARING LOSS IN ADULTS
Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well one can hear. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults. Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Having a hearing loss can make it hard to understand and follow a conversation, to respond to warnings, doorbells or the phone ring. . All of this can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous.
Hearing loss happens for different reasons. Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age. This condition is known as presbycusis (prez-buh-KYOO-sis). Doctors do not know why presbycusis affects some people more than others, but it seems to run in families. Another reason for hearing loss with aging may be years of exposure to loud noise. This condition is known as noise-induced hearing loss. Many people in the armed forces, workers at construction sites, airport etc have hearing problems even in their younger and middle years because of too much exposure to loud noise. Hearing loss can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medicines( ototoxic drugs ).
Degree of hearing loss can be determined by going for an audiometric test to an audiologist. The audiologist can guide the patient about the extent of his hearing loss and what can be done to bring about improvement in listening abilities. Usually, if there is no ear infection, a hearing aid is prescribed. The correct hearing aid is selected according to the hearing loss, listening requirements, expectations and life style of the patient. One must remember no hearing aid can provide normal hearing but it can bring about a lot of improvement in the listening abilities in different situations.