Sense of hearing is very important as the child with hearing loss may not be able to learn speech and language skills. Early detection of the problem can spare the child from severe disability.
Universal Hearing Tests are made mandatory in some of the countries before discharge of the newborn from the hospital. These tests identify infants with hearing loss. Most of the hearing problems are inherent and show the symptoms progressively.
There are many causes for hearing loss in children. Otitis Media, an ear infection due to repeated colds is one of the common causes. Studies show that 50% of loss of hearing in children is due to genetic factors which are congenital. Apart from these, hearing loss can also be caused by many viral and bacterial diseases. Head injury, constant exposure to heavy noises at an early age may also cause deafness.
The Hearing Health Foundation has provided certain guidelines which help parents in identifying the hearing disability in children. Monitoring the improvement in speech and hearing skills with age is extremely important to detect hearing problems. First and foremost symptom of hearing disability is delayed speech. Increasing the T.V. volume or going closer to T.V. to listen, asking to repeat the words several times, poor school performance, irregularity in responding to others, speaking louder than before, not being attentive and isolating himself, moving forward to catch the words, pulling or scratching the ear indicate that the child need medical evaluation.
Early identification helps in assessing the extent of the problem and helps the child in a better way. Audiologists and Speech language therapists evaluate the severity of the case by screening tests. Hearing aids though not cure the hearing loss help in many situations.