Hearing Loss in Children
Have Your Child Tested to Be Sure.
If your child has a hearing loss, he or she is not alone. An estimated 5% of American children 18 years of age and younger suffer from a hearing loss.*
First and foremost, parents must act as soon as possible after a child is diagnosed with a hearing loss. If it goes untreated, a hearing loss might affect school performance, future learning, or behavior at home. Even in infants (birth to 3 years old), the need to act quickly is just as important, as these children are developing skills that will serve them their entire lives. If spotted early enough, both conductive and sensorineural losses
can be addressed before there is a long-term impact on the child's communication and learning skills.
Along with your family physician or pediatrician, an audiologist or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist should be able to determine the best course of action after reviewing your child's audiometric test results
and medical history. Most conductive losses may be addressed with medical or surgical treatments. Although most sensorineural losses are irreversible, hearing aids, FM systems, and other alternative communication devices can help compensate for the loss.**
Your Child May Qualify for Miracle-Ear's Children's Foundation
Hearing Aids For Children
One thing to remember when considering a hearing aid for a young child is that the ear, like the rest of the body, will grow and go through a number of changes before it's fully developed. While technology has improved hearing aids to the point where many models fit entirely in the ear, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are often preferred for children, because in-the-ear (ITE) models will not continue to fit properly as the size of the child's ear grows. Plus, most BTEs can be used with specialized amplification systems at schools, while the ITE models cannot. Sometimes, children say they would prefer a less visible aid, but many times an ITE isn't a practical option. The goal should be to get the most effective hearing aid for your child.
Children learn to write, read, and do math by listening to their teachers and participating in class, so hearing in the classroom is especially important during the early learning years. It doesn't take long for a lapse in early learning to snowball into a life-long obstacle.
Many elements can have an impact on a child's ability to focus on the teacher. So, if you find something that could distract your child, discuss a solution with the teacher. A child with even a mild hearing loss can miss up to 50 percent of what is said in the classroom if there is too much background noise, if he or she can't see who is speaking, or if the teacher isn't communicating clearly.
* Source: American Speech-Language Hearing Association
** Hearing aids do not restore natural hearing. Individual experiences vary depending on the severity of hearing loss, accuracy of evaluation, proper fit, and ability to adapt to amplification. Only your Miracle-Ear® representative can determine which models and options may be right for you.