15% of adults in America suffer from some form of hearing impairment. That’s around 37.5 million people. Of every 1,000 babies born in America, 2 or 3 will be hearing impaired. And around the world, there are 34 million children with hearing impairment. So it’s fairly likely that your child could suffer some form of hearing impairment. Sometimes they are born with it. But other times hearing impairment develops in childhood. To keep an eye on this you need to know the answer to the question ‘what is hearing impairment?’ and how to manage it. Well, you’re in the right place. Read on to find out all the hearing loss facts you need to know.
What Is Hearing Impairment?
Hearing impairment occurs when part of the ear isn’t working properly. This leads to an inability to hear. This might be partial or it might be a total loss of hearing. It can also occur in only one ear or in both ears. The definition of hearing loss is the inability to hear 25 decibels of sound in one or both ears. If you can hear in one ear then you have a hearing impairment but not hearing loss.
When a child has hearing loss or impairment this can have a big impact on their lives. It can affect their ability to develop communication and social skills. If you’re concerned about your child’s hearing it’s important to get it checked as soon as possible!
Causes of Hearing Impairment
Hearing impairment isn’t always hereditary. It can occur naturally. And many children born with hearing impairment don’t have hearing impaired parents. Blockages in the middle or outer ears can lead to mild impairment. Or damage to the inner ear can cause more serious hearing impairment.
Some external factors also affect hearing loss. In children, these include:
- Exposure to excessive noise
- Viral infections (like measles)
- Use of medications that damage hearing
- High fever
Acoustic tumors and Ménière’s disease can also cause hearing loss. If any of these might have affected your child’s hearing let their doctor.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Being familiar with signs of hearing the loss in children means you can catch any indicators early. In babies these include:
- Loud noises not startling them
- Not looking to the source of a sound (above the age of 6 months)
- Also Not saying single words like ‘dada’ by the age of 1
- Not responding to their name when called
- Seeming to hear some sounds but not others
Signs of hearing the loss in children to look out for are:
- A delay in speech
- Unclear speech
- Not following given directions
- Asking you to repeat yourself a lot
- Turning the volume up high on the TV or stereo
If any of these things concern you, you should seek a medical opinion.
Treatment for Hearing Loss
There are different types of treatment depending on the type of hearing loss your child has. If an obstruction is causing hearing impairment this is easy to treat. There are lots of medical and natural remedies for unclogging ears. If the cause of hearing impairment is more internal then this is harder to treat. If possible, the doctor might suggest surgery or cochlear implants. Or they may offer your child a hearing aid. Check out this page to learn more about these. You might want to learn other ways to communicate, like sign language. Intervening quickly helps to prevent any damage to your child’s long-term development.
The Bottom Line
So now you know how to answer the question ‘What is hearing impairment?’ And you know what to do if you suspect your child is suffering with it. For more tips on natural ways to look after your children, check out our blog today!
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