Hearing loss in children can happen when any part of the ear or auditory (hearing) system is not working in the usual way.
Hearing Loss in Children
A hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear or auditory (hearing) system is not working in the usual way.
Anatomy of the Ear
- Outer Ear
- Middle Ear
- Inner Ear
- Auditory (Ear) Nerve
- Auditory (Hearing) System
Four Types of Hearing Loss in Children
- Conductive Hearing Loss
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss
- Mixed Hearing Loss
- Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder
The degree of hearing loss can range from mild to profound:
- Mild Hearing Loss
- Moderate Hearing Loss
- Severe Hearing Loss
- Profound Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can also be described as:
- Unilateral or Bilateral
- Pre-lingual or Post-lingual
- Symmetrical or Asymmetrical
- Progressive or Sudden
- Fluctuating or Stable
- Congenital or Acquired/Delayed Onset
Hearing Loss in Children
The most common cause of hearing loss in children is otitis media (ear infection). The fluid present with an ear infection usually creates a temporary hearing loss, however, recurrent ear infections can cause eardrum damage and permanent hearing loss.
Hearing loss due to otitis media can cause problems with speech and language, especially if the ear infection goes undetected due to a lack of symptoms. Other causes of hearing loss in children include:
- Trauma/head injury
- Noise exposure
- Medication use
- Congenital factors/genetics
If your child fails a hearing screening or exhibits signs of impaired hearing (delayed speech or speech differences, unresponsiveness when called, or observing others to cue behavior), you should have his/her hearing evaluated. Depending on the cause of hearing loss, possible treatments can include:
- Antibiotics (for otitis media)
- Hearing aids: Can be used on children as young as 1 month old
- Ear tubes
- Cochlear implants: Electronic devices that are placed inside the inner ear to enhance hearing
Hearing Tests for Children
Behavioral hearing tests include the following methods for the following developmental ages:
- Behavioral Observation Audiometry (BOA) for developmental ages of 0 to 5 months
- Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)
- Conditioned Orientation Reflex (COR) Audiometry
- Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA)
- Conventional Audiometry consistently used in children ages 5 and older
Tests of Auditory Function
These are not direct measures of hearing, but rather measures of auditory function. However, some of these measures are correlated with different degrees of hearing or hearing loss.
- Tympanometry (Tympanogram)
- Acoustic Reflexes
- Otoacoustic Emission (OAE)
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) is an electrophysiological test
Hearing Aids for Children
Hearing aids for children with advanced technology are now available at Frisco ENT for Children.
Hearing aids have progressed a great deal in recent years. They come in much smaller, more attractive styles, child-friendly colors, and offer advanced technologies that greatly improve one’s ability to understand speech.
Our pediatric audiologist, Dr. Nicole Baldus, will help you select an appropriate hearing aid for your child, carefully program the hearing aid based on his or her hearing loss, and verify the fitting utilizing Real-Ear Measurements to ensure the most accurate hearing aid settings.
Call to schedule your child’s hearing loss consultation today! 214-494-4150