Loss of hearing can occur during childhood, adolescents, or even at birth. In fact, nearly 12 percent of kids age 6 through 19 have noise induced hearing loss according to the American Academy of Audiology. Hearing loss is also the number one most common type of birth defect in the U.S. According to the American Speech and Language Association, that number translates to around 12,000 kids each year who are born with hearing loss.

Childhood hearing losses aren’t necessarily lifelong.
Children can experience hearing loss from many factors, some are reversible such as an ear infection or a build up of earwax in the middle ear. Some conditions resulting in hearing loss are temporary and can be resolved with medical treatment or minor surgery. When ear infections are not treated promptly, there is a risk of permanent hearing loss so medical treatment should be sought promptly.

Early intervention can improve language skills in children with hearing loss. – Early identification and assessment of hearing losses is vital. Children whose hearing loss was identified before 6 months of age showed dramatic gains in language skill development compared to those diagnosed after 6 months of age. This difference was due to early treatment.

Hearing loss may delay your child’s ability to learn normal language skills. – Children learn more about language from birth to 3 years of age than they do at any other time in life because during that time the brain is more receptive to learning language. Listening is the first experience required for normal speech development in young children. In order for children to learn proper reading skills, they must first develop good language skills.

Not all hearing loss is permanent. – It may be surprising to note that noise related hearing loss is 100 percent avoidable. Protect your kids’ ears with ear plugs and/or earmuffs and turn down the volume on the stereo, television, game systems and MP3 player to avoid noise related hearing loss in your children and teens.

Hearing loss signs and symptoms are often times initially observed by parents.
– Many times parents are the first to recognize signs of hearing loss in infants and small children. Response to your voice, noticing noises that toys make (such as rattles), and making babbling sounds are all signs to observe for to ensure infants have normal hearing. Around 9 months of age kids should be repeating back sounds and should also understand some simple phrases and commands. Be sure to ask your hearing specialist or audiologist for a more conclusive list of signs and symptoms to watch for, as well as his/her recommendation on when your child should have a professional hearing screening.

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