Hearing loss impacts people of all ages. In fact, for every 1000 children born, 2 to 3 will be deaf or have some level of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Childhood hearing loss may be due to developmental irregularities in the ear, by a middle ear infection called otitis media, by injury or very loud noises, or by illnesses such as measles, meningitis, or chickenpox. Whatever the cause, testing hearing early is key, because the sooner any hearing problems are detected, the better the child’s chances of attaining their full educational and developmental potential.

As a parent, there are many signs of hearing problems that you should be watchful for. In babies, the key thing to look for is how the infant reacts – or doesn’t react – to sounds. Observe whether the child is startled by loud noises and turns toward the source of the sound. Also look for failure to turn the head when you call her name or reacting to some sounds and not others.

Otitis media will often cause children to complain of ear pain, but other signs to look for are pulling at or rubbing the ears, failing to understand instructions or increasing the TV volume. If you find that your child carefully watches people’s faces as they are speaking, has difficulty locating the source of sounds, or uses the words “what?” or “huh?” many times a day, these could also be signs of a hearing problem. As children get older, even mild hearing loss may cause delays in speech and language development and can lead to learning problems once the child starts school. It may also create emotional or behavioral problems.

These problems are why many states have programs that guarantee early hearing testing in children. The tests are painless, and can be performed even on babies. Children are never too young to have their hearing tested, because the sooner hearing problems are identified, the sooner they can be corrected. So give us a call. We’d be happy to schedule a hearing screening for your child or children and to help if any hearing problems are found.

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