Childhood Hearing Loss Symptoms And Treatment

If your child passes the hearing screening, you should still continually monitor if for any signs and symptoms. Within your baby’s first year, he or she should be able to:

  • jump to sudden loud noises
  • at 3 months, recognize your voice
  • at 6 months, look towards attention-getting sounds.
  • at 12 months, utter words like "Mama" or "bye-bye" 

Here are some symptoms you should watch out for during your child’s transition from baby to toddler:

  • loss or degradation of speech
  • frequent inattention
  • learning difficulties
  • insensitivity to loudness, often increases volume 
  • unintelligible or inappropriate answers to normal conversations

Treatment for Hearing Loss

A child affected by hearing loss is often prescribed a hearing aid if his condition cannot be remedied by medical or surgical means. A hearing aid can address problems caused by outer hair cell dysfunction, which is a common cause of hearing loss. Aside from having a microphone, amplifier, and receiver, some hearing aids have circuits which can make specific sounds louder, depending upon the preference of the user.

There are a variety of hearing aids available and no single brand or make is the best. Some specialized hearing aids are directly attached to the bone of the skull. These send sound waves directly to the cochlea and are usually prescribed for people with conductive hearing loss who won’t be able to use conventional hearing aids. Children with bilateral hearing loss (both ears) can also be outfitted with dual hearing aids.

FM systems or "auditory trainers" are specialized amplification devices which improve hearing in group or noisy environments. FM systems can help greatly in school and can also be fitted for personal or home use. Auditory or listening therapy and speech (lip) reading are also supplementary measures employed for hearing rehabilitation.

Children with profound hearing loss who cannot use normal hearing aids can opt to use cochlear implants. These do not amplify sound like normal hearing aids but rather transmits sound information directly to the nerve of hearing, bypassing past the damaged cochlea.