There are several types of hearing loss in infants and children, including sensorineural, conductive, and prelingual. Your primary care physician will probably advise a trip to an audiologist. These medical professionals are experts in identifying both adult and pediatric hearing issues.
Congenital Hearing Loss
Identifying congenital hearing loss in infants and children is vital for cognitive and speech development. These symptoms may include delays in speech, language, and cognitive development. Early detection is possible. The sooner the condition is detected, the sooner the child can receive treatment.
While a simple hearing test can detect most congenital hearing loss symptoms, genetic testing must rule out a specific cause. Therefore, genetic testing, imaging, and screening are necessary for proper diagnosis and management. In addition, hearing aids, such as Phonak hearing aids, can prevent language and speech development delays for children with congenital hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is a common problem for children and is often not diagnosed until a child enters kindergarten. Consequently, doctors should consider an early screening program to identify children with SNHL before they start school. These programs allow pediatricians to fine-tune their evaluation and increase diagnostic yield.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by various conditions affecting the inner ear. They may be congenital or acquired over time. If you suspect your child has one of these conditions, take them to a pediatric audiologist. They will conduct a comprehensive hearing test and determine if your child has hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss in infants and children is most often the result of infection or otitis media. In this condition, the eardrum becomes inflamed, and fluid can build up. This fluid may not be infected. The symptoms of this disease vary from case to case, and they may occur for short or long periods. In severe cases, it may result in permanent hearing loss. The severity and frequency of the symptoms also differ. For mild cases, amplification aids and speech therapy may be prescribed. However, amplification devices can cause pain and discomfort in the ears.
Some conditions can cause conductive hearing loss, including a middle ear infection, impacted earwax, and a perforated eardrum. In some cases, conductive hearing loss can be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as otitis media with effusion. Fortunately, there are many simple treatments available to correct these problems.
Prelingual Hearing Loss
Early detection and treatment of prelingual hearing loss are crucial for improving your child’s overall development. This form of hearing loss is largely preventable. In addition, early detection and treatment can prevent long-term consequences, including speech and language development problems. If you notice these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Prelingual hearing loss is likely genetic but can also result from health conditions during pregnancy or complications during labor. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for prelingual hearing loss. Your medical provider will determine the cause of your child’s prelingual hearing loss and develop a treatment plan based on this diagnosis.
Noise-induced hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can cause several health issues in infants and children. First, loud noises damage the cells and membranes in the cochlea. This damage can last minutes, hours, or even days after exposure.
Noise-induced hearing loss in children may also result in behavioral and learning problems. For example, children may speak differently than their peers or refuse to respond to name calls. They may also turn up the volume on the television or sit close to it to hear what’s being said. They may also develop academic and speech delays, imitate actions they see, and display other behavioral problems.
Tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss in children and infants that can be easily treated using sound generators. Children with troublesome tinnitus often respond to treatment after six months. However, in many cases, children do not disclose the problem spontaneously. In these cases, parents should ask questions to get information about tinnitus. For example, the child may sometimes describe the ringing noise as a buzzing bee, a choo-choo train, or other sounds. While some parents may worry that their child will become anxious if asked about the noises, clinical experts have found that asking about the ringing noises can help the child calm down and understand that they are not going mad.
Tinnitus in children is a relatively rare condition, but it can be very frustrating for a child to deal with. Suppose your child is experiencing ringing in their ears. In that case, your pediatrician may suggest that they see a tinnitus specialist who can help you to diagnose the cause and recommend treatment options. Often, tinnitus can be cured over time, but it is still important to visit a specialist to find the best treatment for your child.