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How Hearing Loss Symptoms Affect Children | 12 Most Critical Signs, Myths & Facts.

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Teach-babies-sign-languge Symptoms You Should Recognize

A PARENTS CONCERN

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My next door neighbor in my old neighborhood in Chicago, was concerned about the health of her soon to be born baby. You see Helen, that’s her first name, had three children already and a fourth on the way.

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Young Sister’s Posing

Many afternoons, Helen would talk about her life and how some family members suffer from certain disabilities.

One cousin had a bad limp in the right leg, another uncle suffered from a blood disorder and a nephew suffered symptoms regarding hearing loss.

She knew there were many health issues in her family, but never thought it would catch up and spill over into her family. From past uncles, cousins and aunties, it was only a matter of time.

Although she know it’s not funny, but Helen would sometime just sit back, shake her head and chuckle to herself, thinking about the family tree.

How everyone’s health issue down the line affected someone else’s health in the family.

ACTIONS YOU SHOULD TAKE

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Baby Resting Peacefully

Like with any first-time mom starting a new family, she prays that her baby will be normal. Of course, all new moms want this.

But unlike many of Helen’s other friends, they’ve experienced some ‘bad luck’ with the birth of their children. (Not necessarily with the first one, but it happened with one of the others.)  This wasn’t Helen’s first rodeo.

Helen wasn’t a first-time parent and could recognize anything ‘out of the ordinary’ when it comes down to monitoring the health of her children.

Considering past issues regarding her ‘family tree,’ she was prepared for anything. Then after a couple of months, she start noticing somethings not right. Helen consulted with her doctor. After further testing with an ENT specialist, just to be sure, it was confirmed.

ALL THE SIGNS ARE THERE

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Here is a list of general warning signs regarding children. As a parent suspecting a hearing issue, please be very noticeable and aware of these signs:

  • The child seems to respond inconsistently to sound, sometimes hearing and sometimes not.
  • The child intently watches the speakers face.
  • The child often says “What?” when spoken to.
  • The child exhibits behaviors that seem to favor one ear, such as tilting the head to the left or right when listening.
  • There is a history of hearing in the family.
  • The child’s mother had rubella (German measles) during pregnancy.
  • There is a history of blood incompatibility or difficulty in pregnancy.
  • There child has had frequent high fevers.
  • The child has a history of chronic ear infections.
  • The child frequently complains of hurting ears.
  • The child seems to respond better to low – or high – pitched sounds.
  • There is a change in how loudly or how much the child babbles or talks.

STAYING ALERT 24/7

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If you suspect a hearing loss, examine the child’s speech and language development. The speech of children who have a hearing loss may sound different or less clear because they will be imitating a distorted signal.

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Young Child Suffering From Hearing Loss.

Many children have had a hearing impairment since birth and have therefore not heard speech and language of the same quality as that experienced by children with normal hearing.

As a result, their language acquisition is an ongoing, effort-filled sequence instead of a gradual, easy, natural process.

Consider the scores of times small children hear a word before they can learn to actually say it. Children with an impairment do not hear as many words in their surroundings as easily, and consequently they may build a vocabulary at a much slower pace.

Improving the vocabulary of children with hearing loss is so important. Also expanding children’s hearing opportunities is a big ‘Plus’.

Their words may also be  missing word endings (e.g., s, ing), and short words (e.g., the, is, it) may be missing from their speech. The children’s written work may also reflect their inability to hear.

These specific age-related behaviors can signal a hearing loss in infants and toddlers:

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BEFORE SIX MONTHS:

  • The child DOESN’T startle in some way, such as a blink of the eyes or a jerk of the body or a change of activity in response to sudden, loud sounds.
  • The child DOESN’T initiate sounds such as cooing or babbling.
  • The child shows NO RESPONSE to noise-making toys.
  • The child DOESN’T respond to or is not soothed by the sound of his or her’s mother’s voice.

BY SIX MONTHS: 

  • The child DOESN’T search for sounds by shifting eyes or turning the head from side to side.

BY TEN MONTHS:

  • The child DOESN’T show some kind of response to his or her name.
  • He or she REDUCES their amount of vocal behaviors, such as babbling.

BY TWELVE MONTHS:

  • The child shows NO RESPONSE to common household sounds, such as pots banging, running water, or footsteps from behind.
  • The child yells when imitating sounds.
  • The child DOESN’T respond to someone’s voice by turning his or her head or body in all directions to search for the source.

BY FIFTEEN MONTHS:

  • The child ISN’T beginning to imitate many sounds or ISN’T attempting to say simple words.
  • In order to get the child’s attention, you consistently have to raise your voice.

What to do if your child or yourself seem to have some loss of hearing?

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If you suspect that your child is hearing impaired or if you feel that sounds are not as loud as you need them to be, or that speech is muffled, it is a good idea to first have your family physician check for wax in the ear canalsinfection, or a treatable disease.

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Child listening carefully for sound wave.

If the problem can be treated medically or surgically, pursue that treatment.

If this is not possible, or if after treatment you or your child still has some difficulty hearing, investigate hearing help with the role of an audiologist.

To begin, ask your physician for a signed statement or form called a “medical clearance” saying that the hearing loss has been medically evaluated and that you or your child may be considered a candidate for different types of hearing aids.

This form is required by law before a hearing aid dispenser can provide you with a hearing aid. (Adults over eighteen may sign a waiver of this regulation, but for your best hearing health you should obtain a medical check-up instead.)

Then arrange for a hearing test to determine how much hearing loss there is. Get a complete hearing evaluation from a licensed audiologist who is a Fellow in the American Academy of Audiology (FAAA) and/or one with a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) issued by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA).

Seeking out an audiologist may be your best bet. Audiologists can measure hearing ability and identify the degree of loss. They can design and direct a rehabilitation program, recommend and fit the most appropriate hearing aids, and measure the hearing improvement from the use of hearing aids.

They will provide guidance and training on how to use the new hearing aids and recommend the use of other assistant technology, if it’s appropriate. They can also teach speech reading.

They can help you and your child to find solutions that reduce the effects of hearing loss by working with your spouse, family, employer, teacher, caregiver, or other medical specialist. In addition, audiologists evaluate balance, vertigo and dizziness disorders.

If a hearing aid is recommended, be certain to arrange for a trial of at least thirty days through a facility that assist you and your child in becoming oriented to the new experience of hearing with amplification. “Remember, it is a learning experience that does require time, practice, and patience.”

Workings Of The Human Ear

What You Should Know

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As your child matures through life from a young child to adulthood, their hearing situation remains the same. Once you have acknowledge the hearing loss, you decide to do something about it.

But before you even research the subject, you start receiving advice – solicited and unsolicited – from family and friends, and even medical personnel.

Some of this advice and information, regarding children & adults is accurate, but a large amount of misinformation has been circulated over the years. )

Listed below are some incorrect statements and corrected information to help you and other family members become more educated on hearing loss.

MYTH: A Mild Hearing Loss Is Nothing To Be Concerned About.

FACT: Although you may think that you are not missing important information and seem to be managing, you may not realize that your family and friends are frustrated and that you have begun to feel left out.

Not only should you be concerned about your hearing loss, you should do something about it.

MYTH: You Will Be The First Person To Notice That You Have A Hearing Loss.

FACT: Because hearing loss often occurs gradually, you may not notice it at first. Family members and co-workers often are the first to notice that you need to have questions repeated or that the television is to loud.

MYTH: Your Hearing Loss Is Normal For Your Age.

FACT: Hearing loss is not normal at any age; however, hearing loss is more prevalent among older adults than in the general population. Currently, approximately one-third of the population older than sixty-five has some degree of hearing loss.

MYTH: You Have A Sensorineural Hearing Loss (nerve deafness) And There Is Nothing You Can Do About It.

FACT: Most hearing losses can be helped with amplification and assistive listening devices. A majority of people with nerve deafness hear better by wearing hearing aids. 

This form of hearing loss is not correctable with surgery. Conductive hearing loss, however, is often correctable medically or surgically.

MYTH: You Would Understand People If You Listened More Carefully.

FACT: Although paying attention, watching the speaker’s lips, and observing body language can help you understand the message, no amount of careful listening can make you understand what you can’t hear clearly.

If you have a hearing loss, you need to acknowledge it and see a trained hearing healthcare professional for an evaluation to determine if you would benefit from a hearing aid.

MYTH: Your Hearing Loss Is Not Bad Enough For A Hearing Aid.

FACT: Everyone’s  hearing loss is different. Some hard of hearing people hear well on the telephone; others have difficulty. Some have no problem in a quiet one-on-one situation, but have difficulty in a nosy or group setting.

You must determine the degree of difficulty you are having, and together with a trained hearing healthcare professional, determine your need for a hearing aid.

MYTH: A Hearing Aid Will Correct Your Hearing.

FACT: A  hearing aid may be helpful, but not a cure for hearing loss. Hearing aids are not like eyeglasses; they cannot correct or restore hearing to normal levels, but they will make sounds louder.

If your hearing loss can be helped with a hearing aid, then an appropriately prescribed and fitted hearing aid should make your hearing and understanding abilities better, and in turn, improve your quality of life.

MYTH: A Hearing Aid Will Damage Your Hearing.

FACT: A hearing aid will not damage your hearing.

MYTH: Your Hearing Loss Is Not Bad Enough For Two Hearing Aids.

FACT: We normally hear with two ears; therefore, most people with hearing loss in both ears can understand better with two aids than with one.

MYTH: Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids Old Fashioned; You Will Do Much Better With The Newer In-The-Ear Hearing Aids.

FACT: Behind-the-ear hearing aids are as ‘State of the Art’ as-in-the-ear hearing aids. Some include features not found in the smaller hearing aids, and a particular feature may be important for you.

You should work closely with  your hearing health care provider to ensure that the aid you get is appropriate for your particular needs. Function, not appearance, is the crucial consideration.

MYTH: You Should Have Your Hearing Tested In Your Own Home Where You Spend Most Of Your Time.

FACT: The hearing test should be conducted in a soundproof room in order to provide the most accurate results. 

The information gleaned from the test is used to select the most appropriate hearing aid for your individual hearing loss.

Only individuals confined to a bed for health reasons should have hearing test in other sites such as their home.

MYTH: You Can Save A Lot Of Money Buying A Hearing Aid Through The Mail.

FACT: When you buy a hearing aid, you not only are buying a piece of equipment, you are buying the service of a hearing health care provider in your locality.

Unlike eyeglasses, hearing aids require a longer period of adjustment and often modifications that can only be made by trained personnel.  The wrong hearing aid, or one that is not fitted properly, can be worse than no hearing aid at all.

MYTH: Your Hearing Loss Will Not Change In The Future.

FACT: No one can predict the future. Your hearing  loss may remain stable for the rest of your life, or it may change slowly and progressively or suddenly and dramatically.

MYTH: Learn To Speech read (lipread) And You Will Understand Just Fine.

FACT: Many people benefit from taking speech reading lessons; however speechreading is not a substitute for hearing aids, but a complement to them.

Research studies have found that only about three out of ten words can be speech read clearly, only about 30 to 40 percent of speech is visible, and many words that are visible look the same on the lips (for example, ‘pat’ and ‘bat’, ‘see’ and ‘tea’.

Middle Ear Problems Accounts For Roughly One-Third Of All Pediatric Visits

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For many children, earaches began in infancy. By the age of three, over two-thirds of all children have had one or more episodes of some type of ear infection including 33 percent who have had three or more episodes.

Nearly all children affected continue to have problems until the age of six or seven. Otitis media does not become rare until after age 10, and persists in some children beyond 15 years of how hearing loss symptoms affect children imageage. Boys appear to be affected more often than girls in the younger age groups, while the trend reverses in older children.

In spite of vast increases in the pediatric use of antibiotics, the incidence of otitis media has risen sharply! But before we continue and touch on remedies and preventive measures, let me first explain what Otitis media is.

Otitis media refers to inflammation of the middle ear. When infection occurs, the condition is called “acute otitis media.” respiratory infection, and the presence of bacteria or viruses lead to the accumulation of pus and mucus behind the eardrum, blocking the Eustachian tube. This causes earache and swelling.

In regards to children under two affected with this disease, the rate has increased 224 percent. This substantial increase in otitis media has been attributed to everything from increased doctor awareness to improved diagnostic abilities.

There are even those who contend that the incidence of otitis media has increased, in part, because of the widespread use of antibiotic drugs. Parents must also keep in mind that some antibiotics, not all, can cause permanent hearing loss.

To a degree, any of the above explanations may have merit. However, there are additional factors that have emerged during the past several decades that increase a child’s susceptibility to illness such as acute otitis media

HOME CARE REMEDIES

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Introduction Of Solid Foods:

When beginning to introduce solid foods into a baby’s diet, it is important that only one food at a time be added. This way, if your child is sensitive to that food, you can identify it and avoid feeding it.

Once your child’s digestive tract has matured somewhat, you may wish to introduce the food again. The first solids your baby eats should Not  be from among the most common offenders. These include:

  • Dairy products
  • Wheat
  • Eggs
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Peanuts and other nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Sugar
  • Yeast

Fruit Juice:

Most children consume far too much fruit juice. A glass of juice is almost purely simple carbohydrates – in other words, SUGAR. Excess sugar leads to deficiencies in immune function, such as described above.

If you must give fruit juice, dilute it with water, and don’t give it cold right out of the refrigerator. Most parents go to great lengths to make sure their baby’s formula is warm, but think nothing of feeding a bottle of cold juice from the refrigerator. Cold juice can slow digestion in a child of any age.

Honey:

Often, parents feel they are doing their child a service by feeding honey instead of sugar. This is a mistake if large quantities of honey are given, since honey contains the same sugar found in table sugar.

There is an interesting phenomenon surrounding honey. When beekeeper’s want to claim the hive, they mix a solution of sugar water and spray the bees. A solution of water and raw honey also has a calming effect on the bees.

However, when pasteurized honey is used, all bees exposed will be found dead within 20 minutes.

It is unclear why this occurs, but it seems to suggest that raw honey may be a better dietary choice for humans than pasteurized honey. Almost all honey you find in the grocery stores is pasteurized.

You have to look specifically for raw honey. A good place to start is a local food co-op or health food store.

Sugar:

A recent study showed that consumption of refined sugar was associated with low intakes of vitamin E. Recall that vitamin E is important in immune function and for regulating inflammation.

It is also low in the diets of children living in industrialized nations.

Studies has shown that when sugar is ingested, the ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria can fall by as much as 60 percent. Excessive sugar inhibits fatty acid metabolism because it is high in calories but lacks the nutrients needed to make the enzymes work properly.

I suggest you read the labels carefully. Any time sugar appears among the top five or six ingredients, don’t buy the product.

Variety Of Foods:

Avoid feeding the same foods every day. Food sensitivity can be induced by over consuming a given food every day for a long period.

The solution is to rotate foods. Instead of feeding oatmeal every morning for breakfast, feed oatmeal one day, wheat cereal the next, fruit the next, and so on. With infants, rice is preferable to wheat.

If your child has known food allergies, don’t feed those foods more than once or twice a week. When you do feed them, give only small amounts.

Cooked Food:

Avoid feeding raw food to your infant. Fruits need not be cooked, but vegetables and other foods should be. Raw foods are more difficult to digest. They’re also more apt to contribute to allergy.

Also, cold food should not be fed to a child. When food is eaten cold the body must first warm it to almost 100 degrees before it can be properly utilized.

For an infant or child whose digestive system is immature, this can spell trouble.

Infant Formula:

If you choose not to breastfeed, you should know a few things about infant formula. Powdered formula mix is higher in oxidized fats than is liquid formula.

As I once stated before, oxidized fats in the diet can set the stage for inflammation and immune function problems. Some infant formulas contain aluminum in concentrations 30 to 100 times greater than that found in human milk.

Aluminum is a toxic metalloid that has been implicated in brain and kidney damage.

For healthy infants this may not be a serious problem since the blood levels of aluminum following ingestion of formula are no higher than that of breastfed infants.

In regards to cow’s milk, if this is your choice, studies have shown it causes allergic reactions in a large percentage of children.

Cow’s milk and most milk-based formulas (except Enfamil) contain insufficient amounts of the amino acid taurine.

If you do choose to feed cow’s milk to your child under age two, use whole milk rather than skim or low-fat milk. Low fat milk has a high protein-to-fat ratio, which is not suitable for infants and toddlers.

Recognize that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no child under the age one receive whole cow’s milk.

Also recognize that cow’s milk products are found to be the most common provoking foods in children with middle ear problems and have been associated with an increased prevalence of type 1 diabetes in children at risk.
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Author:Ronald Kennedy

Ron attended the Art institute of Chicago in 1980 and Harold Washington College in 1997. He graduated from Malcolm X College in May, 2000 majoring in 'Hearing Loss in America' and 'Children with Hearing Disabilities Around the World' (Ron has another interesting website, https://lovefolks.com regarding Love, Dating & Relationship). A Graduate of Malcolm X College in 2000 with an associate's degree in applied science, Ron also worked with the 'Chicago Area Autopsy Service' which is affiliated with the Medical Examiners Office, near downtown Chicago. The service covered all the local and suburban hospitals when reports of a death is called in.

40 responses to “How Hearing Loss Symptoms Affect Children | 12 Most Critical Signs, Myths & Facts.”

  • Win Bill Huang May 20, 2018 at 6:20 am Reply 

    My mother in law is currently deaf to normal sounds.If you want her to hear you, you have to speak extremely loudly to her. When she was little, she had a high fever.

    She lived in the countryside so the doctors there didn’t do a very good job and she ended up the way she is now. I agree that these kinds of things should be detected early, and making buy some kind of hearing aid for children.

    It’s nice to learn about these symptoms. In the future, if anything I would know to detect them ahead of time.


    • Ronald Kennedy May 21, 2018 at 12:21 am Reply 

      Hi Bill. How are you? Thanks for checking in with me. In regards to your mother-in-law, as a child, her hearing loss may be caused by a defect of the outer or middle ear, but more often the damage exists in the inner ear (cochlea). … Some illnesses which may cause hearing loss include meningitis, encephalitis, mumps, and jaundice. Any disease which is accompanied by a high fever may cause hearing loss in a child. She experienced this early in life. 

      Also, it would help tremendously to have a good ear specialist to diagnose issues before they get too serious. Pass this article along, maybe it will help others.  


  • Jessie May 21, 2018 at 5:30 am Reply 

    Hi Ronald

    I have a child with glue ear and it’s affected his speech and language tremendously. The problem was noticed when he was 18 months old but because of the long waiting list here where I live (I live in Ireland), it wasn’t diagnosed until he was 3 years old. It then took a further 2 and a half years before he had his first set of grommets inserted.

    He’s now almost 7 years old and has just had a second set put in but his speech and language are still pretty bad to the point where he’s had to attend a special school because of it. Believe it or not, there are actually areas here in Ireland where the waiting list to see an ENT specialist are over 4 years long. It’s shocking and glue ear should be a pretty treatable issue.


    • Ronald Kennedy May 22, 2018 at 1:48 am Reply 

      Hi Jessie. Thanks for checking in. I’m very surprised to hear the waiting list to see an ENT specialist is 4 years. There should be a change in health policies in regards to childrens health. It makes no sense! If time had allowed, your son’s problem could have been corrected. 

      But glue ear’s one of medicine’s great mysteries – docs don’t yet know exactly what triggers it, but they do know it’s related to the eustachian tube, through which fluid normally drains away from the middle ear. Depending on the shape of the child’s eustachian tube will determine how effective the inserted grommets will be.

      When this stops functioning properly, fluid builds up, causing glue ear. Over time, this build-up of fluid prevents the eardrum from working like it should. I guess you’ve done all you could. At this stage, all you can do is continue with speech therapist, in the hopes things will continue improving. Good luck to you.


  • Louis March 23, 2019 at 1:14 am Reply 

    Hello, this is perhaps unrelated to your topic. I currently teach kids in my community, and there’s a girl who doesn’t seem to hear and speak as well as others. I’ve advised her parents to take her to a clinic, but they’re insisting she’s a slow learner that’s why her speech is slurred. Do you think it has something to do with hearing loss? Can it be a treatable infection? Hoping to hear your feedback soon.


    • Ronald Kennedy March 23, 2019 at 3:40 am Reply 

      Thank you Louis for checking with me. When overprotective parents insist on doing their own evaluations, this only hurts the child in question. It could possibly be a treatable bacteria which caused middle ear infection. Then an antibiotic should be prescribed. Problems start when fluid builds up in the air-filled space behind the eardrum, which is known as otitis media with effusion.

      This build up can reduce the mobility of the eardrum and middle ear bone, leading to the child’s hearing issues. But I strongly recommend the child be taken to an ENT specialist for an hearing evaluation. Only then will a professional determination be made. Please share this information.


  • Seun Afotanju March 23, 2019 at 1:17 am Reply 

    Thanks for this informative post,  I currently have a friend who’s partially deaf from birth  and has this bothering him amongst his friends, when talking to him you have to stand in front of him for him to hear you and this has been my major concern for him, what can be done in his situation ?


    • Ronald Kennedy March 23, 2019 at 4:12 am Reply 

      Seun, your friend needs a hearing aid, if you have to stand directly in front of him. Why has he not gone in to see an ENT specialist? The doctor can determine the degree of hearing loss through a series of test. If medical insurance is an issue, financial aid is offered in some states. Sounds like an hearing aid is what he most definitely needs right now.  


  • Adamu2 March 23, 2019 at 1:21 am Reply 

    Thanks for writing out this lovely article and I must say its a must for every parents  to read and digest.I once have a neighbor experiencing this symptoms on her kid. I should before the kids could hear me. But I  call her mum notice to go for medical check up concerning her kid. The kid is now hearing clearly. this article made me to understand the causes of this problem and the solution to it. Your article  is very educative and informative. Thanks for the insight. 

    Best regards


    • Ronald Kennedy March 23, 2019 at 4:27 am Reply 

      Thanks for checking in my friend. Sounds like your neighbor’s kid problem was recognized and addressed. When hearing loss is recognized in a child, it should be checked out immediately. Most hearing issues are caused by bacteria, which in turn, brings on a infection that can be cured with antibiotics. It’s good to hear, this child is getting along ok with improved hearing.


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