Everyone knows that once you get older your hearing begins to noticeably diminish.  Unfortunately, that means that hearing loss has been associated with old age despite the fact that it can begin earlier, even as early as infancy!

When we are born, we are actually given a newborn screening test before leaving the hospital, but oftentimes parents forget to continue the follow up appointments or they believe them to be unnecessary.  What they may not know is that in the first few years of life, hearing is critical to a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development and can affect their ability to properly develop speech and language skills.

According to Allen Harlor, Jr, MD and Charles Bower, MD in an article for American Academy of Pediatrics, “Some degree of hearing loss… is present in 1 to 6 per 1000 newborn infants.”  Hearing loss can occur if a child was born prematurely, had newborn jaundice that required a blood transfusion, was given medications that can lead to hearing loss, had meningitis, exposure to loud noises, or inherited their hearing loss.  Growing up, a child can develop hearing loss if they have many ear infections as well.  While many of us never experience these things, it’s important to continue to monitor your hearing throughout your life.

Newborn hearing screening can identify most children born with hearing loss.  But, according to kidshealth.org, the number of people with hearing loss doubles between birth and teen years so it’s important you are regularly checking your child’s hearing, even into their teen years.  Hearing tests are usually performed by a child’s school at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10.  After that, it tends to be forgotten about unless there is an issue but audiologists recommend regular hearing evaluations from your teen years through adulthood, especially if a hearing loss has been determined.

Some signs that may indicate hearing challenges in children include:

  • Limited, poor or no speech by the time they are toddlers
  • Frequently inattentive
  • Difficulty learning
  • Fails to respond to his or her name
  • Easily frustrated when there’s a lot of background noise
  • Needs the volume on the TV to be high
  • Answers inappropriately to speech

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, make sure to schedule an appointment with your audiologist before class resumes.  With kids going back to school, whether by online courses or in person, it is important to make sure they are not missing out on a single word!