• Sound Waves

Signs of Hearing Loss in Children, Pre-Teens and Teens

Parents often think if their child wasn’t diagnosed with hearing loss as an infant or toddler, they’re in the clear on that potential health issue. The truth is, parents should remain vigilant in watching for signs of hearing loss in their children all the way through their teen years. Statistics show that nearly 15% of 6-to-19-year-olds will suffer from temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Kids’ exposure to sounds in the environment – such as snowmobiles, MP3 players and earbuds, live music/concerts, lawnmowers, woodworking tools and sirens – can cause noise-induced hearing loss if the exposure is too loud, too close or lasts too long. Other causes can include illness or injury.

Regardless of the reason, watching for signs and getting help quickly is as important at this age as it was when they were babies and toddlers.

Here are some signs you might observe if your child is experiencing hearing loss in this phase of life:

· hearing fine at some times and not responding at others.

· wanting the TV volume louder than other people do.

· saying “What?” a lot or saying that he/she can’t hear you.

· moving one ear forward when listening.

· doing poorly in school when he/she has previously done well.

· appearing to day dream.

· speaking louder than usual.

· looking at you intently when you speak.

If you observe some of these signs, dig further and ask your child:

· Do you experience ringing, roaring, buzzing or pain in your ears?

· Do you having trouble hearing other people’s voices clearly? Does it sound like they’re mumbling?

· Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?

· Do you often find yourself missing parts of conversations?

· Do you need to ask your friends about things you didn’t hear or understand in class?

Your child/pre-teen/teen may be embarrassed or scared. If you don’t think you’re getting the full picture, you should ask his/her teachers or others about their observations.

Untreated hearing loss can result in poor social and academic development during these crucial years.

If you notice any of these signs, talk to your kid’s doctor, who might refer you for a consultation to an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) doctor or an audiologist. These specialists will conduct testing and eventually determine what type, if any, hearing loss your child has and the best way to address it.

A common course of action is hearing aids. Sounds Waves Pediatric Hearing Aid Program provides children, ages birth to 19 years, with audiology services and hearing aid devices. The organization operates under the principle that no child should be denied hearing aids due to the inability to pay. Learn more or apply for the program now.

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