When children struggle to hear, they miss out on chances to learn important verbal skills. Like adults with hearing loss, the longer they remain hearing impaired, the more difficult it becomes for them to learn hearing skills. Parents should always be on the lookout for signs that their children are struggling to hear.
Several types of hearing loss are prevalent in children. Some are temporary, such as otitis media, while others are due to genetic factors and require extensive treatment. Here are four ways parents can help children with hearing loss.
Treatments for Otitis Media
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear caused by slow development of the Eustachian tubes. When this happens, fluid becomes trapped in the ear, causing hearing loss. The fluid may also cause pain. Typical sings of otitis media, notes WebMD, include a decline in response to verbal communication, difficulty hearing the television or radio, crankiness for unapparent reasons, pulling at or rubbing the ears, fever, and ear pain.
The good news about otitis media is it often goes away on its own. Depending on the case, the first treatment may be to watch the child’s progress to see if the problem goes away on its own. In cases where it persists, there are several available treatments.
Pediatricians may prescribe medications and antibiotics to treat otitis media. Often, ear tubes are prescribed. The tubes provide a way for the fluid to drain and prevent infections. The tubes are placed in the child’s ears by an ENT doctor.
Hearing Aids and Implants
For more permanent hearing loss problems, hearing aids and implants provide a remedy that allows the child’s hearing to develop. Hearing aids are available to children as young as one month. If hearing aids are inadequate, your child’s doctor may try cochlear implants. These are electronic devices that stimulate hearing when implanted in the inner ear.
Children with hearing difficulties benefit from therapy that assists them in communicating through speech, sign language, or both. Assistance with academics is also important. In cases of permanent hearing loss, an adjustment to the child’s educational program will be needed.
The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act legally guarantees students the right to accommodations for disabilities throughout their school years. By employing available educational resources, your child can learn to participate in school learning and activities despite hearing loss.
Hearing Aid Selection
When hearing aids are needed, selecting the right one based on the type and severity of the hearing loss is important for long-term success. Once the hearing aids are selected, they require periodic adjustment as the brain adapts to increased amplification. To start the process of selecting and fitting a hearing device, contact Whisper Hearing Centers or a similar healthcare provider in your particular area.
Hearing loss in children is a serious but treatable problem. If you suspect your child has hearing loss, call your physician today.