Whether you are young or old, you may experience hearing loss. According to experts at the Academy of Audiology, nearly 12% of younger kids from age 6 through the teen years have hearing loss resulting from noise. Hearing loss is also the number one most common type of birth defect in the U.S. According to the American Speech and Language Association, that number translates to around 12,000 kids each year who are born with hearing loss.
Not every type of hearing loss is permanent.
– Not all hearing loss is the result of a long term permanent defect. Minor conditions such as a build up of earwax or an infection could cause reversible hearing loss. Some conditions resulting in hearing loss are temporary and can be resolved with medical treatment or minor surgery. When ear infections are not treated promptly, there is a risk of permanent hearing loss so medical treatment should be sought promptly.
Early intervention can improve language skills in children with hearing loss. – The earlier in life that hearing losses are identified, the more likely the child is to develop fully normal language skills. Children whose hearing loss was identified before 6 months of age showed dramatic gains in language skill development compared to those diagnosed after 6 months of age. This difference was due to early treatment.
Speech and reading skills may be adversely affected by hearing loss. – Language development in the brain of children is at its highest level between age 0 and 3. Listening is the first experience required for normal speech development in young children. Good language skills are very important in order for a young child to learn how to read.
Permanent hearing loss can be avoided. – It may be surprising to note that noise related hearing loss is 100 percent avoidable. It’s important to learn how to use protective gear such as earplugs and earmuffs to prevent loud noises from causing damage. And, be sure to keep the volume down on electronic devices.
Parents are often times the first to identify early signs of hearing loss in young children.
– In many instances parents are the very first to notice something is not quite right in young kids with hearing loss. Signs to watch for include: response to music and making jabbering sounds. Around 9 months of age kids should be repeating back sounds and should also understand some simple phrases and commands. To learn more about recommended screenings and benchmarks to evaluate normal hearing in young kids, consult a hearing instrument specialist or hearing instrument specialist.