On average 2 in 1,000 children are born with hearing loss. Hearing loss at birth is most commonly caused by genetics, but environmental factors and complications like an infection during pregnancy can also play a role. If you have reason to believe your child may have hearing loss, it’s important to have their hearing tested.
Hearing loss can affect every area of your child’s life from hitting developmental milestones like speech, language, and socialization, to how they function in the classroom and at home. Children are very adaptive and while coping with hearing loss seems complicated, at the New Jersey Hearing Aid Consultants we will work with you and your child to diagnose their condition and provide you with information and options.
Before your child begins communicating, it is important to consider if the pregnancy, delivery, and first few months after birth include any risk-factors that could lead to difficulty with hearing loss later in life. Infants may be at risk for hearing complications if they have a low birth weight, are born premature, spend more than five days in the NICU, or have a family history of hearing loss. In-utero infections or the use of ototoxic medications can also put your infant at risk for hearing difficulties.
A child between the ages of 0 and 3 years that have any risk factors for hearing loss should see a hearing healthcare professional to have their hearing evaluated. A hearing evaluation should occur every six months from diagnosis to age 3 to monitor their hearing and identify any condition early.
As a parent or family member you may notice signs of hearing loss that you, and these should definitely not be ignored. If it’s difficult to get your child’s attention or it seems like they are turning up the volume on the television or other electronics, it may be a good idea to get their hearing tested. Ask yourself the following questions:
These questions are just the beginning to diagnosing a potential condition in your child. There is a comprehensive checklist and informational sheet from NIH that is a perfect starting point. The document introduces parents and guardians to pediatric hearing and communicating, with both information and a checklist that you can take to your pediatrician and begin the process of better hearing for your child.
Improving your child’s hearing also including making an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional. Much like an adult appointment, a pediatric appointment will involve discussing the symptoms, testing the hearing, and discussing a potential diagnosis. If it is determined that your child needs hearing aids, we have several options for them.
Hearing aids for children come in several styles and include advanced technology just like hearing aids for adults. However, in addition to processing and relaying sounds, pediatric hearing aids are also made for classroom settings. Some pair with accessories or can pair with a microphone to help your child hear the teacher directly. This feature can be helpful in active classrooms with lots of background noise as well as in sports or after school activities.
The most prescribed children’s hearing aid style is a behind-the-ear style hearing aid which has a processor that sits behind the ear and a tube that connects to a speaker that sits in the child’s ear canal. These devices have larger buttons which are better for small hands, as the child will begin to learn how to control their hearing aid as they grow. Most hearing aids come in a variety of colors, which helps the child show off their personality and become more confident when wearing their hearing aids. Your audiologist will work with you to find the best hearing aid for your child and will discuss the options and features to help you select the best device for their lifestyle and your budget. At the New Jersey Hearing Aid Consultants, we have several pediatric options that feature the latest technology and cater to your child’s needs.