What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing impairment or hearing loss refers to the inability to hear things. It happens when there is a problem with one or more parts of the ear or ears, the nerves coming from the ears, or the part of the brain that controls hearing.
What are the signs of Normal Hearing?
Birth to 4 months:
- Awaken or stir at loud sounds?
- Startle at loud noises?
- Calm at the sound of a familiar voice?
- Respond to your voice (smiles or coos)?
4 to 9 months:
- Turn eyes toward source of familiar sounds?
- Smile when spoken to?
- Notice rattles and other sound-making toys?
- Cry differently for different needs?
- Make babbling sounds?
- Seem to understand simple word/hand motions such as "bye-bye" with a wave?
9 to 15 months:
- Babble a lot of different sounds?
- Respond to his/her name?
- Respond to changes in your tone of voice?
- Say "ma-ma" or "da-da"?
- Understand simple requests?
- Repeat some sounds you make?
- Use his/her voice to attract attention?
- Point to familiar objects when they are named?
- Listen to stories, songs and rhymes?
- Follow simple commands?
- Use several different words?
- Point to body parts when asked?
- Name common objects?
- Put two or more words together?
Preschool & Older:
- Turn up the volume of the TV excessively high?
- Respond inappropriately to questions?
- Not reply when you call him/her?
- Watch others to imitate what they are doing?
- Have articulation problems or speech/language delays?
- Have problems academically?
- Complain of earaches, ear pain or head noises?
- Have difficulty understanding what people are saying?
- Seem to speak differently from other children his or her age?
What should you do if you suspect a hearing loss?
You should express your concern to your paediatrician, or consult an Audiologist.
An audiologist specializes in prevention, diagnosis, identification, and non-medical treatment of individuals with hearing loss and balance disorders.
What happens if a hearing loss is left untreated?
Children learn speech and language from listening to other people talk. The first few years of life are especially critical for this development.
Untreated hearing loss in children can affect everything from social interactions to emotional development to learning.
If the hearing loss is due to an infection, leaving it untreated can lead to further complications and permanent hearing loss.
How does an Audiologist assess your child’s hearing?
- Hearing can be assessed from the moment a baby is born
- A baby who is only a few hours old can be screened for the presence or absence of hearing loss
- As the child grows older, different tests are employed to find the degree of hearing
- Audiologists carry out a series of age appropriate tests to get a complete picture about your child’s hearing
- Hearing tests are non-invasive and completely free of any discomfort. For younger children and babies, they are carried out when the child is naturally asleep