There are many tips medical professionals can give new parents such as how to assess their child’s hearing level and many times parents can be a key factor in early detection of their child’s hearing problems. Here are tips that over my years in nursing I have shared with many of my new parents.
Hearing impairment in small children.
Slight impairment – Many children will normally be unable to hear whispered words or faint speech. Child may not normally show any impairment but you may notice they get closer or lean towards soft words or sounds. Although slight impairment is not cause for alarm it should be evaluated by a professional and monitored over time to make sure that it doesn’t progress. Many parents think their child may have hearing problems when sometimes the child may actually have attention problems that are causing them to not pay attention to spoken words or sounds, not acknowledging them.
Mild impairment – Speech impairment may be noticeable, difficulty with correctly pronouncing words or normal conversation. If new parents think that toddlers may be slow to show normal speech development they should immediately seek proper evaluation of any hearing issues. A ENT or ear nose and throat physician can determine if the child has any ear or hearing problems that can be attributing to their normal speech development.
Moderate impairment – Child may require speech therapy and show noticeable speech delay and difficulty.
Severe impairment – Child may hear loud sounds but have difficulty with normal level of speech. Hears vowels rather than consonants. Requires speech therapy for normal clear speech development. May require amplification in order to properly hear. Child should be properly evaluated by a medical professional to determine the level of hearing loss and if there maybe any ear problem that is causing the dramatic hearing impairment.
Profound impairment – Child has profound hearing loss and hears almost no sound. The child should be evaluated for their hearing problem and amplification may be useful in order for the child to be able to hear, however in some cases amplification may not be give significant help.
I have been a nurse for a long time and unfortunately in the area I live many children are around hunters shooting guns, loud noises such as drilling or farm machinery and in some cases even subjected to loud concerts by their parents. I understand that many parents may not have a good understanding of the effects of noise damage, especially to young ears but a child’s ears can easily be damaged by being too close to loud noises. Noise hearing loss is permanent and gradually over time deteriorates. Many teens also suffer from noise damage due to wearing headphones with loud music or game sounds being blasted. Hearing loss is a serious problem in the world and in many cases can be prevented with the proper hearing protection.
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