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[ John-John ] [ Hearing Loss ] [ Tour Cebu, PI ]

[ Types of Loss ] [ 4 basic types ] [ How they Work ] [ 10 Myths ] [ Glossary ]


Hearing Loss in Children... 

 



For those who are interested in learning about hearing loss.

Hearing loss in children is often mistaken for other disorders; mental retardation, mental illness, brain damage, learning disorders, etc. The overriding factor in successful treatment of hearing loss in children is the age at which it is discovered. The sooner hearing loss is identified, the better the chances of successful treatment. Hearing loss in children is often mistaken for other disorders; mental retardation, mental illness, brain damage, learning disorders, etc. The overriding factor in successful treatment of hearing loss in children is the age at which it is discovered. The sooner hearing loss is identified, the better the chances of successful treatment.

Children can be tested at birth for significant hearing loss. Even moderate losses can be detected and measured after a few weeks of life. Early testing is accomplished by attaching electrodes to the child's ear which will track the progress of a signal through the auditory pathways. It requires no response from the child and does not disturb the child. Electrophysiological testing can be accomplished even while the child is asleep.

Early identification of hearing loss is extremely important if the child is to learn communication as the normal child does. Children learn 75% of the rules of the language by the time they are three years of age, and 90% by the time they are five. During the birth-five years period children absorb language like a sponge. This is considered the 'prime time' for communication development.

However, this learning is dependent on children being able to hear. Even a slight loss will cause a deficit. The greater the loss, the more significant the communication deficit will be.

Many losses can be treated medically with excellent results. Other losses may have an underlying cause that cannot be corrected medically. However, many children whose losses cannot be corrected medically can be successfully fit with an amplification device, such as a hearing aid.

Some signs of hearing loss in children are as follows:

bulletChildren who do not awaken when there is a loud noise. Some children are sound sleepers who can sleep through almost anything. However, children who do not awaken to noise should be suspected of hearing loss.
bulletChildren who do not turn to a sound. Children with normal hearing begin turning to find the source of a sound at a few months of age. This is called localization. Children who do not try to locate the source of a sound should be suspect for hearing loss.
bulletChildren who do not look at the speaker. Eye contact develops early in children. Children should be checked for hearing if they do not look at the face of the speaker.
bulletChildren who have delayed speech and language development should be check for hearing loss.
bulletChildren who do not seem to pay attention should be checked for hearing loss.
bulletChildren who have difficulty following directions should be checked for hearing loss.
bulletChildren who have having difficulty in school should be checked for hearing loss.
bulletChildren who "day dream" or withdraw in social situations (such as playing by themselves) should be checked for hearing loss.

Treatment for children with hearing loss:

As indicated before, medical treatment may completely, or partially correct a hearing loss. Children with usable hearing can benefit from being fitted with a hearing aid. Children with hearing loss may have special school needs. Hard of hearing children, that is, children who have hearing loss, but for whom hearing is their main communication channel, can usually be mainstreamed in regular classrooms, but may need special help. Deaf children, ones who must rely primarily on vision for communication, e.g., sign language and lip reading, may need special placement or special classrooms.

Children with hearing impairment have the same range of intelligence as children with normal hearing. Given the appropriate school setting, children with hearing loss can progress through formal education at a normal rate. Many go to college and enter professions.

The parents of children who have been found to have hearing loss would be well advised to become acquainted with adults with hearing loss. It will be encouraging, because most adults with hearing loss have jobs, families, and lead happy, productive lives. Children with hearing loss may have special needs, but above all else, they are simply children.  

 

 

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