Hearing Loss Is A Silent Handicap
child hearing loss

child hearing loss
How does an ear function ?
Before we move onto the details, it is important for you to understand how the ear functions, as this will help you to understand the types of hearing loss your child might be experience.  We must firstly
know the anatomy of an ear to understand how it works. The is ear is divided into three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The out ear is the part with the pinna and the ear canal. The middle ear has an eardrum and three small bones called the  ossicles, a fluid filled snail shaped organ that accommodates more than 16,000 delicate hair cells.

When sound goes into the ear canal, it will strike the eardrum, causing the eardrum to vibrate. The vibration will cause the ossicles to move. The last of the  three bones, known as Stapes will move in and out of the opening to the cochlea, causing ripples in the fluid of the cochlea. This in turn will cause the hair cells with then stimulate  the nerve endings which will then send the sound messages to the brain via the auditory pathway.

child hearing loss

Levels, types of hearing loss and their causes child hearing loss

Hearing loss is divided into four levels: mild, moderate, severe, and profound. A child who experiences mild hearing loss is able to listen to most of his surrounding sounds, except faint or distant speech, and soft sounds such as fingers snapping. On the extreme end, a child has profound hearing loss is unable to pick up even the most ear-deafening decibel of sound.

Hearing loss can be classified into two groups. The first is 'congenital hearing loss', where a baby is born with hearing impairment. The second is 'acquired hearing loss', where a child or baby is born healthy, but is hearing impaired later in the life due to certain infections or illness.

Causes of congenital hearing loss :

  • Family history - a strong family history of hearing loss
  • Congenital prenatal infection known or suspected to be associated with hearing loss such as rubella, syphilis, toxoplasmosis etc.
  • Low birth weight babies - the baby is born with very low birth weight, at around 1.5 kg or less (usually the case of premature babies)
  • Birth asphyxia - the baby is born with lack of oxygen during birth
  • Neonatal jaundice - the baby has yellow fever and underwent blood transfusion
  • Craniofacial abnormalities- the baby is born with the morphologic abnormalities of the pinna, ear canal etc.

Causes of acquired hearing loss :

  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Serious ear infection
  • Head trauma
  • High fever
  • Mumps child hearing loss

Parents should also be aware that hearing loss could be a temporary handicap or a permanent one. A temporary hearing loss such as infection of the middle ear can be treated.

On the other hand, a permanent hearing loss or a sensorineural hearing loss has no cure. It involves the damage of hair cells in the cochlea. In most cases of sensorineural hearing loss, the audiological management involves the fitting of hearing aids.


child hearing loss

Signs of hearing loss child hearing loss

Hearing loss is a silent handicap. A child who experiences hearing impairment is often unable to voice out for himself. As such, parents and teachers may fail to take notice that the child may have difficulty hearing. The following are signs which may indicate a hearing loss. No one sign positively indicates hearing loss, but if your child shows one or more of the following signs, you should seek help from an audiologist.

With a young baby or toddler, you may notice that your child :

  • Does not respond to his name when you call him
  • Does not respond when you call him from another room close by
  • Does not startle or get uncomfortable with loud noises
  • Turns on the TV or radio louder than what is comfortable to you
  • Has delayed development of his speech and language

Your older child who may already be speaking may : child hearing loss

  • Strain to watch the speaker or "hear" better when watching the speaker's face
  • Fail to pay attention when spoken to
  • Give wrong answers to simple questions
  • Frequently ask for repetition of words of sentences
  • Often confuses consonant sounds
  • Pronounce some speech sounds incorrectly
  • Have frequent earaches, colds, running ears, upper respiratory infections, or allergies. The illness or infection may be temporary , but if it occurs regularly (e.g. having flue a few times in a month) and is not managed, speech may be delayed, as he can't hear properly due to the infection.
  • Function below potential in school
  • Have behaviour problems at home and at school
  • Be withdrawn and moody

What is Otitis Media ?

Have your child's hearing tested


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