Hearing loss in children can occur in children due to various reasons. About 34 million children are suffering from a disabling hearing loss. 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to causes that can be easily prevented.

 

What Causes Hearing Loss in Children?

While some children are born with a hearing loss - the condition of which is known as Congenital hearing loss - due to reasons like -

  • Infections like Rubella or Herpes simplex

  • Birth defects or injuries

  • Premature birth

  • Genetics

  • Low birth weight

  • Maternal diabetes

  • Drug and alcohol consumption during pregnancy

  • High blood pressure while pregnant

  • Jaundice or Rh factor problems

Others acquire it after birth due to various reasons - the condition known as Acquired hearing loss. Some common factors affecting hearing abilities in children as they grow up include -

  • Exposure to loud noises

  • Ear infections like Otitis media

  • Intake of ototoxic drugs

  • Head or neck injury

  • Chicken pox

  • Mumps

  • Measles

  • Influenza

  • Mumps

  • Meningitis

 

What are the Common Symptoms?

If your child shows these signs, then it’s high time you must consult a professional Audiologist.

  • Distracted behaviour and attention problems

  • Not responding properly in noisy situations

  • Increased fatigue after school or after being in a noisy area

  • Reports of ear pain or other annoyance with the ears or the head

  • Muffled hearing

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or hearing strange noises in the ears when there are no external sounds present

How to Protect Your Child's Ears from Exposure to Loud Noises?

  • Follow the 60-60 rule. Reduce the time and volume of your child's exposure to loud sounds. The volume exposed to should not exceed 60% and the time of exposure shouldn't be more than 60 minutes at a stretch.
  • Give them ear defenders or ear protectors like earplugs or earmuffs to wear while in abnormally noisy situations.
  • Control and monitor the volume of your TV or radio.
  • Keep your home environment as noise-free as possible. Excessive noises can distract children, thus losing attention to what you are saying. Too much noise would also irritate your child.
  • Of course, test your child's hearing from time to time. Monitor your child's response rates and speech and language development skills. Check whether he or she is developing the communication skills as per the developmental milestones.
  • Consult with a professional Audiologist and a Speech-Language Pathologist to confirm whether your child is having proper access to the hearing world and that he or she is learning speech and language correctly at par with his or her peers.

Nowadays, most hospitals do offer hearing test after delivery. Make it a point to go through a newborn hearing screening before you take your child home. Early intervention is necessary so that you can start a proper hearing loss treatment procedure on time - be it hearing aids or cochlear implants. A child must need to have proper access to the hearing world so as to develop good speech and language skills.