Does Your Child Need to See a Pediatric Hearing Specialist?
While hearing loss in children may not be common, it isn’t unheard of. If you think your child is suffering from hearing loss, a pediatric hearing doctor can help. They have experience examining children for hearing loss and other related problems. They’ll perform tests on adolescents, kids, toddlers, and babies to discover the presence of hearing loss and find out what caused it and the extent of the damage. They’re trained to recognize early signs of hearing loss and a hearing aid doctor for kids is best equipped to handle hearing issues in young people. Early intervention is key to preventing further damage and helping your child obtain the best listening devices, so they can stay on target with speech and language development. Here’s how to know if your child should see an audiologist.
Behavioral and Speech Issues
If you or your child’s teacher notice any speech or behavioral problems at school or at home, this may be the first sign of a late-onset hearing issue. If a child cannot hear a parent or teacher’s instructions, it may seem that they are acting out, but really it might be frustration.
Some indicators to look for are:
- Loud speech
- Consistently asks you to repeat words
- Doesn’t react, or has a delayed reaction when his or her name is called
- Only responds when they’re looking directly at you
- Has attention problems or trouble following directions
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to take your child to a hearing aid doctor for an evaluation. Some states provide free hearing screenings for young children and various tests are covered by insurance, so it may not cost as much as you think.
While a newborn hearing screening may not be required by law in some states, it’s always highly recommended. A hearing aid doctor for kids should perform a screening on your little one while they’re still in the hospital. If their test comes back inconclusive or positive for possible hearing loss, they may require a follow-up visit to their office. If they find your baby is at risk, they may recommend that they provide periodic screenings throughout the child’s life to watch for changes and find signs of damage as they get older.
If your child is suffering from hearing loss, they should see a pediatric audiologist or hearing aid doctor to design a treatment plan. Call the medical professionals at Oklahoma Hearing Center to learn about options such as implants, hearing aids, surgery, or speech, language, and occupational therapies.
How to Protect Your Child’s Hearing
Your child’s hearing is an integral part of their vocal and emotional development, so you want to protect it at all costs. Your children have delicate ears.
Protect them by following these three easy tips and take them to a hearing specialist at the first sign of trouble:
1. Put Limits on Listening Time
It’s not just volume that contributes to hearing loss, it’s also how long a child is exposed to the sound. By setting time limits on the use of personal listening devices such as phones and iPods, you can help keep your kids’ hearing intact. Also, be aware of contact with loud sounds from other sources such as concerts or construction sites and limit the amount of time you and your family are exposed. Listening breaks are necessary for noisy situations to avoid a trip to an ear specialist.
2. Set Devices at a Reasonable Volume
Setting a personal listening device on a high volume has been shown to increase the risk of hearing loss. It can be prudent not to give personal devices to young children. Many are happy without a device if it is not introduced by a parent. If avoidance isn’t possible, try using an app that sets volume limits. Sometimes devices or earphones have limiting volume options built in.
3. Use Hearing Protection
Your child may be at risk of losing their hearing if they’re exposed to concerts, auto races, fireworks displays or even loud lawn equipment. A great option to protect your children is to use hearing protection. Older kids can use foam earplugs which are effective and inexpensive. Simply roll the earplug, place in the ear, and allow it to expand. You can pull up and back on the ear to get better leverage. If you’d rather have something custom made, try hearing protection that uses a mold of the ear created by a hearing specialist. These molded pieces come in several styles and colors and may have sound filters that protect from high-intensity sounds while allowing music to sound more natural. When you’re getting ready for fun with your kids, don’t forget about hearing safety. Loud devices and venues can cause permanent damage, putting a damper on the season.
If you think your child may have a hearing issue, contact Oklahoma Hearing Center today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert audiologists.