Hearing is important for children to develop speech and language skills as they grow. In previous time hearing loss in children undetected until the child was around two years old, when it became obvious that the child wasn’t talking yet.
Children learn communication by copying the sounds they hear. If a child has a hearing loss that is undetected and untreated, they can miss much of the speech and language around them. This results in delayed speech development, social problems and academic difficulties.
Hearing loss, in varying degrees, affects two children in every 100 children under the age of Eighteen. Unfortunately, there are very few hearing losses that cannot be helped with modern technology.
Types of Children Hearing Loss
Hearing loss in children can be present at birth (congenital) or acquired after birth. The two primary types of hearing loss are:
- Sensorineural hearing loss – This type of hearing loss is related to damage or a defect in the inner ear or in the neural connection to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by congenital factors or can occur after birth.
- Conductive hearing loss – A reduction of sound being sent to the inner ear caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear. Conductive is the most common type of hearing loss in children and is usually acquired. In a minority of cases, this type of hearing loss is congenital.
Hearing loss can also be a mix of both of these types, affecting both the inner ear and outer/middle ear.
Congenital hearing loss
This hearing loss occurs at birth. There are many causes of congenital hearing loss though they are not always easily identified. There are both non-genetic and genetic factors that might cause hearing loss.
- Birth complications
- Premature birth.
- A nervous system or brain disorder.
- The mother had an infection during pregnancy.
- Maternal diabetes.
- Drug or alcohol abuse by the mother or smoking during pregnancy.
Acquired hearing loss
Children also are affected by the acquired hearing loss, meaning it occurs after birth. There are various causes of acquired hearing loss, including:
- A serious head injury
- Infections like meningitis, measles, mumps or a whooping cough
- Taking ototoxic medications
- A perforated eardrum
- Exposure to loud noise, causing noise-induced hearing loss
- Untreated or frequent otitis media (ear infections)
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
Symptoms of hearing loss in child
- A child starts to speak more loudly than previously.
- Child seems to hear fine some of the time and then not respond at other times
- Child wants the TV volume louder than other members of the family
- Child says “What?” more often
- One ear moves forward when trying to listening.
- Grades in the class fall or teacher notes do not seem to hear or respond as well in the classroom as other children.
- Child says that they didn’t hear you. But parents consider that their children are not paying attention when in fact there may be an unidentified hearing loss.
- Your child is not paying attention.
According to World Health Organization, Approximately 15% of the world’s population has some degree of hearing loss; and many of them are children. In 2013 survey said that over 5% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss jeopardizing their daily life and livelihood.
The absolute number thus stands at 360 million of which 32 million are children. Childhood development is seriously hampered due to disabling hearing loss. In 2000, 855 babies have identified hearing loss these babies percentage number increase in 2005, 855 to 2,634 and In 2012, babies percentage approximately double of 2005.