Understanding Pediatric Hearing Loss

Understanding Pediatric Hearing Loss

In Ear Health, Family & Relationships, Pediatric Hearing Loss by audseo

As children across the US return to school this fall, we want to bring awareness to hearing loss among younger people. It’s a common misconception that hearing loss affects only seniors. The fact is, hearing loss can happen to anybody at any age, and pediatric hearing loss treatment is critical to childhood development. 

While our team here at Hearing Wellness Solutions typically treats people ages 18 and older, we believe that knowing the signs and symptoms of hearing loss is essential so that you can identify it as early as possible and seek treatment. 


Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Children

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children are born with hearing loss. So, what causes pediatric hearing loss? 

As with adult hearing loss, there are several common causes. Some kids present at birth have congenital hearing loss or hearing loss. This can be inherited or due to prenatal infections or disease. Others may have hearing loss due to complications from any number of illnesses. The most prevalent cause of hearing loss in young children is a complication from an ear infection.

Effects of Unaddressed Hearing Loss on Children

Permanent pediatric hearing loss affects a child’s life profoundly. The early years of infancy are a crucial time when there is an enormous amount of growth. Hearing plays a significant role in that development. Speech and language development may be impaired by poor hearing ability, as listening and communicating are essential to the development of speech and language in general. 

Emotional, social, and intellectual development can, in turn, be affected when dealing with limited language and verbal skills, and the child may suffer both socially and academically. Even children with moderate hearing loss or hearing loss in one ear only, experience delays in growth. They do much worse than their peers in listening and are often held back by a grade.

Ear Infections and Hearing Loss

Also called Otitis Media, this is an inflammation in the middle ear that comes with a dangerous buildup of fluid. Kids often suffer from ear infections because their Eustachian tubes, the channels connecting the ear to the back of the nose, are small because they are still developing and easily blocked. 

When your child is experiencing a cold or runny nose, they can’t regulate or drain fluid. This blockage can lead to fluid buildup, which starts inflammation. Recent studies show that by the time they are three years old, 75 percent of children will experience at least one bout of otitis media. 

Many of these children experience fluctuating hearing loss due to the infection. The fluid is thin and transparent in mild situations and is not necessarily related to hearing loss. However, if the fluid is dark, it causes pain and discomfort, and can easily result in permanent loss of hearing.

Early intervention is vital to allowing the child to develop and learn with his or her peers. If you suspect your child has an ear infection, even if your child has no discomfort, there are a couple of tell-tale signs of fluid in the ear that you can look for. 

  • Your child is more likely to pull or pinch his or her ears and become irritable. 
  • They could have hearing problems, such as misunderstanding what has been said, being uncharacteristically inattentive, or failing to respond appropriately.

Hearing Wellness Solutions

At Hearing Wellness Solutions, we provide comprehensive hearing services for people ages 18 and older. We hope that this overview of pediatric hearing loss is helpful! We believe that hearing health is important for the whole family. Be sure to pay attention to the signs of hearing loss among adults as well! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.