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Hearing Loss in Infants

by Jane Meggitt

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

Parents pay close attention to baby’s every milestone. That’s why they are usually aware when something is not quite right with their infant. If you suspect your baby has a hearing issue, you are probably correct, and your pediatrician should examine your child as soon as possible.

Early intervention is critical when it comes to infant hearing loss. Children who have difficulty hearing often have trouble with speech and learning proper social skills. Even young children can wear hearing aids, and those who are profoundly deaf may have some hearing restored with cochlear implants.

Signs of Hearing Loss in Babies

Because babies aren’t yet verbal, it’s more difficult to determine whether they are dealing with hearing loss than with older children. Still, there are various signs that an infant may suffer from hearing loss, and parents will often pick up on them. Take your baby to the doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • The infant doesn’t react to loud noises.
  • The infant may hear some noises, but doesn’t appear to hear others.
  • A baby doesn’t react when you say his name, but does react when seeing you.
  • By the age of six months, the baby doesn’t look or turn in the direction of a sound.
  • By their first birthday, the child is still not saying simple words like “mama” or “dada” or making attempts to verbalize.

Infant Hearing Loss Risk Factors

While any baby may be born with hearing issues or develop them as they grow, certain infants are more vulnerable than others. Babies are at additional risk for hearing loss if there is a family history of deafness or hearing loss, or if the infant had a low birth weight. If the baby experienced a lack of oxygen during birth, or if the mother had certain infections during her pregnancy, this can also increase the risk of hearing loss.

Infant Hearing Loss Testing

Hearing tests for infants take just minutes to perform. The most common tests include the otoacoustic emissions (OAE), which assesses the functioning of the baby’s inner ear, and the auditory brainstem responses (ABR). The latter test involves recording neural activity in the brain as a reaction to sounds. The doctor will also examine the baby to ensure there is no foreign object in the air, or in very young children, no leftover amniotic fluid causing a hearing issue. The doctor will also check for a punctured eardrum or other possible hearing loss causes. As a result of the testing, a treatment plan is devised.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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