When it comes to speech and language skills, the ability to hear is vital to a child’s development. While hearing loss used to remain undetected until the toddler years, researchers have provided ways to identify this condition early on. That research has also taught healthcare providers and parents vital information on hearing loss in children. Here’s everything you need to know.
More Common Than You Think
The CDC conducts regular surveys to determine how common various conditions are. Their findings show that roughly two out of every 1,000 newborns have hearing loss, while every five out of 1,000 children aged three to seventeen have this condition.
Those might not seem like large numbers, but consider that there are almost 330 million people in the United States. Out of that number, 48 million individuals live with hearing loss. Not every individual develops the loss as a child, however.
Hearing loss is either congenital or acquired. Congenital loss is one present at birth, meaning the child is born deaf or with hearing difficulties. Acquired loss happens after birth, and is often more common. This condition can develop over time or be caused by exposure to extremely loud sounds.
There are three types of hearing loss, which family law experts say are vital to differentiate. Children can experience conductive, sensorineural, or a combination of the two. These differences are something your physician can identify and treat, but they all result in hearing loss. As for the causes to these types of losses, most cases remain a mystery for babies born with the condition.
In some cases, hearing loss is transferred from the parents. Even when both adults have their hearing, they may carry a recessive gene that is passed on to the child. Having one parent with a dominant gene can also lead to the loss of hearing in their child. Other genetic factors include:
- Treacher Collins
- and Alport syndromes
Non-genetic causes often include birth complications or nervous system disorders. Drug use, infection, and diabetes during maternity can also cause hearing loss in babies. Even some antibiotics and pain relievers are known to damage the auditory nerve in developing fetuses.
Screening and Treatment
Many children develop partial or full loss of their hearing later in life, making screening for this condition a vital checkup. Parents can monitor their child, checking for reactions to auditory stimuli like loud sounds or whether the child responds to their voice. Pediatricians will also check your child’s hearing during visits.
Treatment for this condition often requires a combination of tactics. Hearing aids, such as Oticon devices, cochlear implants, and bone-anchored hearing systems are just one part of the solution. Most children also require speech therapy early on as well as the use of assistive listening devices, such as FM systems, for most of their lives.
Teenagers with hearing loss should also be aware that employers must offer reasonable accommodations for their condition. If you’re being sued for ADA violations, then speaking with an ADA accessibility lawyer is highly recommended.