Our ability to hear is an essential part of understanding the world around us and it is critical for the development of a child’s speech. Even a minor hearing problem in a young child may affect their language, development, confidence and education. Hearing problems may not always be obvious though and a child’s ability to hear may appear to vary with their environment.
Here are some signs to look out for if you suspect your child has a hearing loss: Difficulty in understanding Speaking more loudly or quietly Asking you to repeat what you are saying Turning the TV or music up very loud Easily distracted when people are talking to them.
Unexplained tiredness and/or irritability in babies, early signs include not being startled by loud noises, being unable to hear different pitches and tones or not recognising a parent’s voice.
Ear infections are more common in children and young babies and can cause temporary hearing loss. A doctor should be consulted if symptoms do not settle in a couple of days. They often follow a cold and the child may rub or pull at an ear, may cry more or be more irritable, have difficulty feeding and sleeping, and may have a cough.
Glue Ear is a condition that can affect us at any age but seems to occur more in children than in adults. It is when the middle part of the ear fills up with fluid, blocking the Eustachian tube. It can cause earache, pain and even tinnitus.
Glue Ear should be monitored and not ignored, especially if it occurs during your child’s crucial speech and language development stages. Speak to your doctor or local hearing professional for advice.
Sometimes a hearing loss can be due to a build-up of ear wax and this must be professionally removed. NEVER attempt to remove ear wax from your child’s ear yourself as inserting anything into the ear can cause permanent damage. Cotton buds may seem to be designed for the task but these only serve to push the ear wax further into the ear canal.
Try to protect your child’s hearing wherever possible, especially with contact sports and in loud environments, and get their hearing regularly tested. Do not hesitate to seek help if you suspect a problem with your child’s hearing or ear health.
Aston Hearing offer a child-friendly, age appropriate hearing screening service at all three of their practices.