If you’re a parent or guardian, chances are you’ve said to your child many times, “How many times do I have to repeat myself?” Indeed, a part of parenting is repeating yourself―but what if your child is not being naughty and actually suffers from hearing loss?
What is hearing loss?
Audiologist, PhD candidate and Lecturer at the University of Cape Town Vera-Genevey Hlayisi shares; “hearing loss is a reduction in the ability to hear sounds. Hearing loss can range in severity from mild to profound and may be temporary or permanent affecting one or both ears.” According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss affects up to 32 million children and having a hearing loss as a child impacts on their ability to develop and learn language, literacy, social skills and overall quality of life.
SEE ALSO: Can You Hear Properly?
What Causes Hearing Loss in Children?
The causes of hearing loss can be congenital (born with it) or acquired after birth. Some of the Congenital causes According to the World Health Organization include;
- genetic factors
- complications during pregnancy and childbirth, including: maternal rubella, syphilis or certain other infections during pregnancy; low birth weight; birth asphyxia (a lack of oxygen at the time of birth); inappropriate use of particular drugs during pregnancy, such as aminoglycosides, cytotoxic drugs, antimalarial drugs, and diuretics; severe jaundice in the neonatal period, which can damage the hearing nerve in a newborn infant.
What are the Signs my child might have a hearing loss?
- delayed or absent speech is the most important clue as children learn to speak from
what they hear
- your child seems to hear fine some of the time and then not respond at other times
when spoken to from afar
- your child wants the TV volume louder than other members of the family
- your child says “What?” more often
- your child moves one ear forward when listening
- your child’s teacher notes that they do not seem to hear or respond as well in the
classroom as other children
- your child says that they didn’t hear you. This may seem obvious, but many parents
assume that their children are not paying attention when in fact there may be an
unidentified hearing loss
- it seems as though your child is just not paying attention
- your child starts to speak more loudly than previously
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The most common type of hearing loss in children is caused by ear infections. Children under 3 are most susceptible to ear infections. It is important to ensure that your child is screened at birth and at every other major medical visit to be able to identify and treat an ear infection early. Visits to your local audiologist should be done annually to ensure your child’s hearing health is optimal. Caring about your child’s hearing is extremely important because it is the gateway to how your child will learn to interact and engage with the world as they grow.