Hearing loss is a growing problem around the world. Over the last several years, experts have been warning about an increase in noise-induced hearing loss, predominantly due to personal listening devices and smartphones, which could affect millions of Millennials. Unfortunately, hearing loss can also be incredibly difficult for parents to detect, which is especially problematic when you consider that early intervention is the best way to slow the rate of hearing decline and encourage normal development. So how can parents tell if their child is suffering from hearing loss? Here are four of the most common warning signs.
Delayed Speech Development
One of the best ways to determine if a child is suffering from hearing loss is through his or her speech development. We learn to speak by mimicking the sounds that we hear, so if I child isn't pronouncing words properly or avoiding softer speech sounds such as "sh," "th," or "f," then it could mean that they're failing to hear these sounds when spoken by others. Also, children who have difficulty hearing may be too quiet or speak at inappropriately high volumes.
No Response to Loud Noises
This sign is particularly relevant for infants and young children. If your son or daughter doesn't recoil at loud noises, that might be cause for concern. But you should also be on the lookout for more subtle indicators, such as children not noticing you until you enter their line of sight or not responding to the phone ringing or doorbell chiming.
Sometimes, hearing loss presents as other problems entirely. We're all forgetful every once in a while, but if you notice that your child tends to have persistent memory problems, then this could a symptom of hearing loss. The problem might not be that they can't remember what they heard; they simply never heard it in the first place.
Turning Up the Volume
Yes, most children have a habit of listening to the television, radio, iPad and other electronic devices at excessively loud levels. It's just a part of their nature. But sometimes, turning up the volume is compensation for a lack of hearing ability. So pay close attention and see if your child demonstrates any of the other common symptoms.
If you suspect that your child may be suffering from hearing loss, then you should schedule a test with a qualified audiologist in your area. When hearing problems are allowed to persist, children tend to develop more slowly relative to their peers, which can negatively affect them for the rest of their lives. Conversely, when proper corrective action is taken early, kids typically develop normal verbal and social skills.
If you or someone you know is interested in hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!