We all want to believe that our children are perfect but it is important to be aware of the signs of potential hearing problems to be able to act on them and get a speedy diagnosis. Here we take a look at some of the more obvious signs that you should get your child tested and also discuss the impact of modern society on hearing in our children.
Kids with impaired hearing will often become more sensitive to other sensory inputs in order to compensate for it. They may be more aware of vibrations through furniture or the floor and changes in light caused by say opening a door, other signs that your child may have impaired hearing include:
- What appears to be a delay in their speech development – babbling rather then than forming actual speech sounds
- Your child does not react to loud noises
- From around six months they do not recognise/respond to sounds, for example their own name
- From around six months they do not move their head to find/locate where a noise is coming from
- Your child fiddles with their ears, pulling them or touching them frequently – this could be a sign that they have increased pressure in their ear or perhaps an infection
- As they get older your child begins to withdraw from social situations and appears frustrated and possibly angry.
- They want the volume of TV’s, games or stereo equipment set higher and they tend to sit closer to them
- Your child does not respond to being called or may misunderstand instructions
One or a number of these signs needs investigating to find out what the root cause may be – it could be something as simple as an ear infection or possibly serous otitis media otherwise known as glue ear or possibly something else. The most important thing for you to do now is get your child’s hearing tested by professionals who will be able to diagnose the problem and suggest a suitable treatment or hearing aid.
Dealing with your own emotions
If your child is diagnosed with a hearing impairment it can be a tough time not only for them but also for you as a parent. You will probably go through a range of emotions including anger, guilt, frustration and confusion amongst others. Just remember that all of these are entirely natural ways to feel and seek out help and reassurance from the professionals where your child is receiving treatment.
Raising awareness of our how we can limit problems for our children in the future
A number of new studies have highlighted the potential problems of the modern world and the impact that listening to the array of modern technology can have on our children’s hearing. Robert Harrison has noted that there is now an increased use of amplified acoustic sounds such as MP3 players, gaming consoles, TV’s and sports/entertainment venues. He argues that the rise in volumes and the increased use of headphones and speakers at decibels that are far higher then in previous years can result in more children suffering from noise induced hearing loss.
Save your hearing for the music campaign
The Hearing Foundation of Canada has taken this research one step further and developed the “Save your hearing for the music” campaign which highlights the risks of repetitive high levels of noise and discusses strategies for reducing everyday, background noises – giving littler ears better protection and lessening the risk for the future. They are not trying to be “party poopers” but stress the importance of us all becoming more aware of the noises around us and how they might sound to our children. With Spike as their cool mascot the campaign is aimed at both parents, teachers and children and looks at a variety of topics including noise induced hearing loss, definitions and even talks about ear wax!
Paying for your child’s hearing aids
If your child is diagnosed with a hearing impairment that requires hearing aids you should investigate the subsidies or grants available to you. It is somewhat of a state lottery as to how much or little your child may be entitled to so you will need to do your homework. BC was recently reported as one of worst provinces for offering subsidies for those suffering with a hearing impairment – in some areas only children under the age of three and half are eligible. So look at other alternatives such as looking at your health insurance and seeing if there is some level of cover through that. Although a number of insurers do not cover hearing aids a standard some do – double check and if you are in position where it is possible to extend that coverage then it is perhaps with considering it. Comprehensive cover means there is one less worry when dealing with a medical situation and after all, no price is too high when it comes to giving your child their hearing back.
We would like to thank our guest blogger Melissa Hathaway for this excellent contribution to our blog. If you have any questions please leave a comment below.