Parents urged to look for signs of hearing loss in kids

Parents urged to look for signs of hearing loss in kids

DOES your child ask for repetition of instructions, ignore you when you call their name and constantly have a runny nose or regular ear infections?

Their hearing might be to blame.

As part of Hearing Awareness Week from March 3 to 9 2019, parents are being encouraged to be proactive if they notice any of these “red flags”.

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Signs of hearing loss in kids

Poor speech (trouble making or repeating sounds), irritability due to ear pain and poor academic performance (particularly with early learning) could be another indicator that your child needs their ears checked.

Telethon Speech and Hearing head audiologist Philippa Hatch said there were two types of hearing loss in children, conductive and sensorineural.

“Conductive hearing losses are more common in children under seven years of age and are mostly associated with fluid building up in the middle ear,’’ she said.

“Sensorineural hearing loss is more uncommon and is caused by problems with the cochlea (the inner part of the ear involved in hearing) and nerves, with 1 in every 1000 children born with a permanent hearing loss.

“This number increases to 1 in every 500 children by school age.”

Ms Hatch said the newborn screening program offered to all parents is a quick and easy way to identify if your baby has a permanent hearing loss and is conducted just after birth.

Kids’ hearing tests 

So what do you do if you are concerned about your child’s hearing?

The first step should be to book a hearing test with a paediatric audiologist.

Ms Hatch said treating potential hearing loss swiftly was vital in avoiding further damage to the ear and resolving any speech and language difficulties.

“An ear check will provide parents and caregivers with an opportunity to discuss their child’s ear health concerns with a paediatric audiologist who has experience with children with hearing impairment and speech and language delays,’’ she said,

“They will be able to look for some of the more common causes of poor ear health such as ear infections and can make a recommendation for full audiological assessment if it is warranted.”

Next Friday, March 15, Telethon Speech and Hearing in Wembley is offering hearing screenings for $20.