Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hearing Loss in Children: The Importance of Early Detection

The Importance of Early Detection Hearing Loss For Children
Hearing loss is a condition that usually affects elderly but children can also acquired this condition. Loss of hearing can greatly affect children, if left undetected and untreated it will affect the child's speech development, social and learning skills.

There are two principal type of hearing loss in children, it can be congenital and acquired. These losses may be sensorineural, conductive or combination of two.
There are many possible causes of congenital loss. Pregnancy related causes like premature birth could cause hearing loss because the auditory system is not yet fully developed. Rubella, syphilis, Cytomegalovirus can affect the fetus and relate to progressive hearing loss, even mental retardation and blindness. Ototoxic medication, which was taken during pregnancy, could also cause hearing loss so avoid taking medicine during preganancy and if it cannot be avoided, consult a doctor before taking any medication. Hereditary or genetic factor can also be a factor, usually the parents are not really suffering from loss of hearing but they can be carriers that transmit the condition to their children.

Hearing loss could also be acquired if a child got meningitis, measles or other viral infection. One way to avoid viral infection in infant is breastfeeding. Breastfed babies have stronger immune system. Neglected middle ear infections can also cause loss, and damage eardrum due to excessive noise like loud music causes damage and eventual loss, this is usually the cause of hearing loss in teenagers. Head injury cause by physical trauma and taking ototoxic medicine can also cause this condition.

Normally, hearing in young children is temporary, and caused by earwax or middle-ear infections. With proper treatment and sometimes surgery this condition can be cured. If the condition is permanent, hearing aid can be used.

For children early detection is important so its regular practice in most hospitals to perform hearing tests for babies shortly after delivery. There are two tests that are available: Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) and auditory brain stem response (ABR). The primary purpose of otoacoustic emission (OAE) tests is to determine cochlear status, specifically hair cell function. The ABR test measures the reaction of the parts of a child's nervous system that affect hearing. An ABR test is often ordered if a newborn fails the hearing screening test given in the hospital shortly after birth, or for older children if there is a suspicion of hearing loss that was not confirmed through more conventional hearing tests.

For parents there are noticeable physical symptoms that your child is suffering from hearing loss. If your child turn up the volume of TV or radio too high, most of the time respond inappropriately to questions or does not even reply when you call him/her, low academic performance, delay development in speech, could not follow or understand simple instruction and most of the time complain of headache, ear pain or head noise or tinnitus.

These signs does not automatically means that your child has hearing problem but just to make sure to get the correct diagnosis consult your pediatrician if you see one of the symptoms above.           

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