Your pediatrician suspects your child has a hearing loss. You agree because you notice she cannot understand conversations as easily as your other children do. At Children's Ear, Nose & Throat Associates in Maitland and Orlando, FL, your team of board-certified otolaryngologists, audiologists, and nurse practitioners help pinpoint and treat hearing loss. Read on about the signs of early hearing loss and their causes.
Signs of hearing loss
Hearing loss presents in a variety of ways, no matter what the age of a patient. Basically, it's recognized by how (or if) the individual responds to everyday environmental sounds, speech, conversation, and loud noise.
Additionally, people who have trouble hearing experience difficulty in social, learning, and professional situations. They tend to withdraw, misunderstand directions and social cues, may fall behind in school, or show evidence of speech and language difficulties.
If you see some of the following symptoms or behaviors in your child, he or she may have hearing loss and should be evaluated by one of our ear, nose, and throat doctors in Maitland and Orlando. Signs include:
- Little to no reaction to sudden sounds, directions, or calling of his or her name
- Trouble understanding conversations, particularly in crowded environments such as the dinner table, cafeteria, party, or group meeting
- Television, computer, or other electronic device is turned to higher volume
- Difficulty understanding high-pitched, soft voices
- Muffled speech
- Language and speech delays (evident even in children under three months of age, say experts at Columbia University Medical Center)
- Learning problems
- Needing directions repeated
Reasons for hearing loss
They vary. Some hearing problems are hereditary (run in families,) or they can be genetic. Others are conductive in which middle ear fluid, mechanical blockage of the ear canal with wax or issues with the small bones of the inner ear reduce transmission of sound.
In addition, some children and adults suffer from sensorineural hearing loss in which the cochlea (inner ear) or auditory nerve is damaged and unable to send proper signals to the brain for interpretation.
What puts your child at risk?
Some risk factors hearing loss simply are unknown. However, other factors seem to play a significant role in the development of hearing problems--things such as:
- Premature birth and staying in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
- High bilirubin levels (jaundice) after birth
- Repeated ear infections
- Meningitis or cytomegalovirus
- Exposure to loud noise (music, power tools, traffic)
- Taking certain ototoxic prescriptions
- Damage to the eardrum (tympanic membrane)
- Fluid in the middle ear
Find out more
If you believe your child is not hearing as well as he or she should, please call one of our three convenient offices to schedule a hearing evaluation. We have two Orlando locations and one in Maitland. Phone Children's Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates at (407) 253-1000.