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Should I Get My Child’s Hearing Tested?

May 2nd, 2012 by Miss Kristin

If you have any concern about your child’s hearing, then YES!..absolutely get them checked out! Did you know that 4 out of 1,000 babies are born with some form of a hearing loss?  Wow. I was surprised at how common hearing loss actually is.  As I researched this topic, I found that hearing loss is one of the most common congenital (hereditary) anomalies children face as they enter into the world. Getting your child’s  hearing tested regularly is EXTREMELY important and can ensure proper development.

Here are some at home “tests” to conduct if you are concerned. These aren’t fool proof, but they might give you some insight to whether or not professional tests are needed:

  • Clap your hands behind your baby’s head to see if he/she responds to the sound. This method is especially helpful with newborn babies who may jump or act startled when they hear a loud noise, according to the Nemours Foundation.
  • Try to get your baby to react to your voice. Between 4 and 6 months of age, your baby should have enough head control to turn his head in response to your voice or other sounds. Stand out of your baby’s view and talk to him to see if he turns his head in response.
  • Talk to your baby and give her a chance to respond. During the first 6 months of life, babies begin to babble and mimic the sounds adults make. If your baby does not babble or respond to your voice with sound by 6 months of age, mention it to your doctor.
  • Give your older baby simple instructions and see if he can follow them. As your baby nears the end of his first year, he may be able to clap, wave or perform other simple activities when instructed. If he does not respond to such requests by 12 months, talk to your doctor.

What if My Child Needs Tubes?!?

As a teacher, I have seen so many children benefit from tube placement in their ears.  Children that get tubes placed in can go from being withdrawn and quiet, to chatty and interactive within a couple weeks of the procedure.  Depending on their age, their ability to use their vocabulary seems to triple, and their personality magnifies as they enter into a world of hearing correctly!  One doctor said that kids with hearing loss grow up listening to the world like they are under water.  How confusing could that be?  No wonder they are quiet and withdrawn!  That being said, I am a huge advocate of tubes!!  Not only do they allow your child to hear more accurately and clearly, but they can also decrease the use of antibiotics (since the fluid clogging up their ears and/or causing ear infections can now properly drain), increase interaction with others, and allow your child to develop appropriately.   I just love seeing that transformation!

To help further our knowledge on hearing, here are some common misconceptions people have about their children’s hearing.

Clinical Facts

Parents will know if their child has a hearing loss by the time their child is 2-3 months of age.

Prior to the universal screening, the average age at which children are found to have a hearing loss is 2-3 years. Children with mild-to-moderate hearing loss are often not identified until 4 years of age.

Parents can identify a hearing loss by clapping their hands behind the child’s head.

Children can compensate for a hearing loss. They use visual cues, such as shadows or parental expressions and reactions, or they may feel the breeze caused by the motion of the hands.

The HRR is all that is needed to identify children with hearing loss.

The HRR misses approximately 50% of all children with hearing loss.

Hearing loss does not occur often enough to justify the use of universal screening programs.

Hearing loss affects approximately 2-4 per 1000 live births, and it has been estimated to be one of the most common congenital anomalies.

Tests are not reliable and cause too many infants to be referred to specialists.

Referral rates are as low as 5-7%.

There is no rush to identify a hearing loss. The loss does not need to be identified until a child is aged 2-3 years.

Children identified when they are older than 6 months can have speech and language delays. Children identified when they are younger than 6 months do not have these delays and are equal to their hearing peers in terms of speech and language.

Children younger than 12 months cannot be fitted with hearing aids.

Children as young as 1 month of age can be fit with and benefit from hearing aids.

How has the post helped you? Do you have any personal experience with a child’s hearing loss? What are your thoughts on universal screening?

Posted by Miss Kristin

Bio: My name is Kristin, but most here at SLC call me Miss Kristin :) I have been working at Scottsdale Learning Centers since 2007 and LOVE it. It is such a blessing to be a part of the amazing SLC team in the front office and as a pre-k teacher in Room 11! When I'm not at SLC I volunteer as a leader for junior high girls at my church (I am crazy...I know), and needless to say, I have a passion for kids!

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