If your child has been diagnosed with impaired hearing, it’s easy to panic as naturally you worry about your family’s health. There are many causes, symptoms and different treatments depending on the exact nature of the diagnosis, and it’s normal to feel concerned over how your child will feel, what treatment they will receive and any effects with speech and language delays. But with a little knowledge and care, things will all be okay. In the past, hearing loss in babies and children could often go undiagnosed for several years, especially if only one ear is affected. It would not be until the child started talking or another symptom emerged that medical professionals would be able to diagnose any impairment. Nowadays, detection of hearing loss in infants is much better and is usually a part of postnatal care, so it tends to be picked up a lot sooner – and early intervention tends to lead to better outcomes.
What Causes Are There?
Childhood and infant hearing loss can have many causes. It is either congenital – meaning your child was born with a hearing impairment – or it can be acquired some time after birth. A hearing loss can either be conductive, sensorineural or a mix of both. Healthcare professionals in most countries are trained to pick up on early signs, but untreated hearing loss can result in significant development delay and emotional issues. If your child has been born with hearing loss, there are several possible factors, including autosomal recessive hearing loss and autosomal dominant hearing loss. The first type is a common cause, with over 70 per cent of all genetic cases attributed to it..In this case, neither parent will have hearing loss themselves, but they carry a recessive gene which gets passed to their child. In these cases, the hearing impairment of the child is likely to be a big shock, as most people will not be aware of being recessive gene carriers.
Connection To Other Syndromes
Hearing loss can also be in connection to a range of other genetic syndromes, such as Usher syndrome, Waardenburg, Down, Crouzon or Treacher Collins In other cases, hearing impairment is caused by non-genetic factors such as birth complications with an infection or a lack of oxygen at birth. Babies born prematurely are also at a higher risk as well as those whose mother developed diabetes, had an infection during pregnancy or took any ototoxic drugs such as antibiotics and some painkillers.
How Is Childhood Hearing Loss Treated?
This all depends on both the severity and the cause of the impairment, but the good news is that treatments have never been more effective, and things are developing all the time. A combination of cochlear implants or hearing aids, speech therapy and assistive learning devices may be used in treatment by a pediatric audiologist. There will usually be a period of testing to determine the right course of treatment, and these are painless and non-invasive. They will help a treatment plan to be developed to support your child. If your child needs to wear a hearing aid, most ones for children come with special covers to ensure they are not accidentally removed and misplaced by the child. Some sit behind the ear while others are almost entirely in the ear canals and most are very discreet.