Most children born in the U.S. are screened for hearing loss or problems when they come into this world. Within the first day or two, electrodes are placed on the child and headphones are used to transmit tones into the ears while he or she is sleeping.
These tones are played at different frequencies and levels and the child’s brain activity is monitored to see if hearing is normal. If a problem is detected, the cause can be investigated and solutions offered.
A child’s ability to hear is important right from birth, as it is one of the major ways in which they begin to learn, grow, and develop in the world.
Monitoring Your Child’s Hearing
Chances are when your child is born his or her hearing will be normal. After the initial monitoring, checkups by your pediatrician will always involve examining your child’s ears and his or her hearing ability.
Your pediatrician will also ask you various questions about your child’s development and any sorts of issues they may have, including those related to hearing.
As a parent you have a responsibility to observe if you child’s ability to hear is at anytime compromised. The cause of symptoms such as ear aches, hearing loss, and dizziness in young children is often ear infections.
Although an occasional ear infection is nothing to be concerned about, as long as it is addressed by a visit to your pediatrician and a proper utilization of appropriate antibiotics, chronic ear infections are cause for concern.
Problems Associated with Chronic Ear Infections
Some children will get to a point where antibiotics cannot cure their ear infections. Fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear, and the middle ear becomes inflamed.
Although symptoms may not always be immediately recognizable, often a child, even if he or she is not in pain, will be unresponsive or under responsive to sounds. If the child is older, he or she will often misinterpret what is said and commonly mispronounce words.
Visiting an ENT
If such problems are chronic, then your pediatrician will refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT). The ENT will examine your child, and they may recommend a hearing test to determine the severity of hearing loss. They will make recommendations, which may include an operation during which small tubes are inserted into your child’s ears.
These ear tubes (myringotomy) allow the middle ear to be ventilated, and permits any trapped fluid to be drained. Hearing, in most cases, is usually fully restored and ear infections cease.
Contact Us If Problems Persist
Most children who are older than six or seven months old who experience hearing loss are tested by looking for a physical response, such as turning their head toward a sound or pausing an activity to listen, she said.
If hearing loss is present, children are first referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist to see if there’s a medical solution available. For example, excessive buildup of fluid in a child’s ears can affect their hearing, but surgically placed tubes can drain the fluid and correct any issues.
If your child has persistent problems with ear infections, is showing symptoms related to hearing loss, and/or is struggling with reading, learning words, and other such activities, contact Joshua Light, M.D. Pedicatric Hearing Specialist in Boynton Beach, at 561-737-8584 or by using the convenient form located on this page to set up an appointment. He will examine your child’s ears, nose, and throat, and offer possible solutions to any chronic hearing problems.