- Frequent earache
- Recurring ear infections
- Drainage of foul liquid from the ear, possibly bloody
- Hearing loss
- Ear feelings stuffy or full
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says up to three out of every 1000 American children have hearing losses. Could these be prevented? At Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy in Orlando, FL, our professional team understands pediatric hearing loss. If you suspect that your child can't hear well, we can help.
Signs of hearing loss in children
Hearing loss expresses differently in babies and children than in adults. Parents notice that their babies don't startle at loud noises, or maybe speech development is delayed. Articulation of sounds may be very unclear, and typical baby babble just doesn't happen.
As a child grows, they may be missing important milestones in language and speech. Typically, hard of hearing youngsters turn the TV or computer to a louder volume, may say "What?" or "Huh?' a lot, or just don't respond when a parent says something. A lot of background noise—such as in a crowded room—often feels intolerable or makes hearing issues worse.
Causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss may be genetic—in other words, it runs in families. Additionally, these factors contribute to it:
- Prenatal infections
- Prolonged jaundice after birth
- Malformations of the inner and middle ear
- Head injury
- Birth complications
- Exposure to loud noise
Testing for hearing loss
Your newborn will be hearing tested in the hospital shortly after birth. If you deliver at home, be sure to pursue in-office screening by three weeks of age. Additionally, your child will receive a pediatric hearing screening by the time they are school age. If, however, you have concerns about hearing loss, please contact Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy in Orlando right away.
Preventing hearing loss
As a parent, what can you do to ensure your child has healthy hearing? Here are some tips on preventing hearing loss:
- Get consistent prenatal care. A healthy mom means a healthy baby.
- Keep your child away from high-volume noises, such as the TV, loud music, power tools, and traffic. Have them wear earplugs as needed.
- Be sure your child gets his or her vaccines on schedule. Childhood illnesses, including ear infections, may contribute to temporary or permanent hearing loss.
At Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy, our team of four physicians and three audiologists is the go-to source for information on and evaluation of children's hearing loss. We have three Orlando-area offices to serve you: Maitland, Metrowest, and Lake Nona. Phone (407) 253-1000 to reach them.
- People seem to be talking very quietly all the time
- You find it difficult to follow along in conversations
- Higher pitched sounds, like alarm clocks or birds, are harder to hear
- Words with higher frequency consonants like f, t, s, p, and h are difficult to distinguish
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves
If you are having trouble breathing or have recurrent sinus infections, you may also have nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths which hang down from the walls of your nasal passages or sinuses. You are at greater risk of having nasal polyps if you have:
Asthma or allergies
Allergic fungal sinusitis
Recurring sinus infections
If you are at greater risk of forming nasal polyps, there is a lot you can do to prevent them. Remember to:
Get treatment to manage asthma and allergies and prevent inflammation of your nasal passages and sinuses.
Avoid tobacco smoke, fumes, dust, and allergens to prevent nasal irritation.
Wash your hands frequently to prevent transmission of virus and bacteria which can cause infection.
Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your home which keeps your nasal passages moist.
Use a saline solution to rinse your nasal passages and sinuses and to help remove irritating substances.
You may not experience any symptoms if you have small nasal polyps, however, larger nasal polyps can cause:
Loss of smell or taste
Headaches or facial pain
Chronic inflammation in your sinuses (sinusitis)
Frequent nasal or sinus infections
Snoring or sleep apnea
Fortunately there are effective treatments for nasal polyps. Your doctor may suggest:
Medications to shrink the size of the polyps or eliminate them; some common medications include:
Nasal corticosteroid spray to reduce inflammation
Injectable or oral corticosteroids in addition to spray
Antihistamines to reduce inflammation from allergies
Antibiotics to treat chronic sinus infections
For larger nasal polyps that don’t respond to treatment with medications, surgery might be indicated. Surgery is performed endoscopically using an endoscope with a camera attached which is inserted into your nostril and guided up your nasal passages into your sinuses. Tiny instruments are used to remove the polyps or other growths interfering with breathing.
Call your ENT today and start breathing better tomorrow!
Good hearing is crucial to speech and language development in young children. When children don't hear well, it's more difficult to succeed in school or even make friends. The ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors at Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy in Maitland and Orlando, FL, diagnose and treat conditions that can affect hearing. In some cases, these conditions can be avoided by taking a few precautions.
What Causes Hearing Loss in Children?
Some children are born with hearing loss, while others develop the problem during childhood. Common causes of acquired hearing loss include:
- Ear Infections: Hearing usually improves after a child recovers from an ear infection, but frequent infections increase the risk of permanent hearing loss.
- Illnesses: Children can develop hearing loss if they've had the mumps, measles, flu, chickenpox, encephalitis, or meningitis.
- Medications: Chemotherapy medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, certain antibiotics, and other medications may cause hearing loss.
- Loud Noises: Exposure to loud noises can damage hair cells in the ear needed for good hearing.
How You Can Reduce Your Child's Risk of Hearing Loss
These steps can decrease the likelihood that your child will develop hearing loss:
- Follow the Recommended Vaccination Schedule: Vaccinations prevent your child from developing diseases that can cause hearing loss.
- Use Ear Protection: Noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs are a must if your child attends sporting events, concerts or fireworks or is around loud equipment and sounds.
- Limit Earphone Use: Using earphones to listen to music and play games can also be a factor in hearing loss. Make sure your children keep the sound as low as possible when wearing earphones. Remind them to take frequent breaks, as the length of time earphones are used also affects hearing loss.
- Turn Down the Volume: Don't blast TVs and music. Keep the volume at the lowest level possible.
- Schedule a Hearing Screening: Making an appointment at one of our offices in Orlando or Maitland for a hearing screening is a simple way to protect your child's hearing. The earlier hearing loss is identified and treated, the less likely your child will develop speech and language delays.
Could your child have hearing loss? Schedule an appointment with Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy in either Maitland or Orlando, FL, by calling (407) 253-1000.
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