FLEX AUDIOLOGY

Pediatric Audiology

Prioritizing Your Child’s Auditory Health

The prevalence of hearing loss in children is a significant health concern, with the CDC reporting that approximately 1.7 per 1,000 babies are affected. For children in developmental stages, the rate is about 1.4 per 1,000.

The importance of auditory development in a child’s ability to engage with their environment and with others cannot be overstated—it is foundational to their communication, language, and overall cognitive development.

At Flex Audiology, we understand the anxiety parents face when their child’s development is impeded by auditory challenges. Our pediatric audiologists are not just healthcare providers; they are partners in your child’s developmental journey.

They are devoted to delivering personalized hearing care solutions and have gained the confidence of the community, including local pediatricians and educational institutions, through dedicated service to hundreds of children.

Dr. Person, Audiologist performing a pediatric hearing assessment

I messaged Flex Audiology with some questions

about thoughts on surgery vs hearing aids for my child, after a previous surgery failed. She was very helpful giving me an idea of costs for hearing aids and was very quick in responding to my questions. If we choose to go the hearing aid route we will definitely look into purchasing from Flex Audiology.

Melanie W.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Children’s Hearing Loss

Two small boys at a audiology clinic in Lawrenceburg smiling

#1 - How do I know if my child is experiencing hearing loss?

Children’s hearing loss is usually diagnosed during the general testing and screening processes conducted at birth, but some hearing challenges show up in later development. Early signs that your child could be experiencing a problem include:

  • No reaction to loud noises
  • No response to your voice unless there is eye contact
  • Your child makes simple sounds that taper off
  • Rubbing or pulling on his or her ears
  • Ongoing crankiness without an apparent cause
  • Stops paying attention when you or someone talks to them
  • Frequent or ongoing lethargy
  • Doesn’t fully understand directions
  • Turns up the volume on the television or complains that it’s not loud enough
  • Fever along with ear pain

See a pediatric hearing professional if your child exhibits any or a combination of these signs.

#2 – What causes hearing loss in children?

The causes of hearing loss in children include:

  • Birth Defects. From genetics, prenatal issues like diabetes or pre-eclampsia, and premature birth.
  • Otitis Media. A middle ear infection due to inadequate formation of the Eustachian tubes, which causes fluid to build up behind the eardrum and become infected. Severe and ongoing otitis media left untreated can lead to permanent hearing loss.
  • Illness. Meningitis, encephalitis, measles, chickenpox, and the flu can lead to the development of hearing loss.
  • Injuries. Head injuries or exposure to very loud noise.<l/i>
  • Medications. Some ototoxic medications can lead to hearing loss.<l/i>

#3 – How is hearing loss treated in children?

Because hearing loss in children leads to language and other development challenges, doctors of audiology make an extra effort to diagnose and treat it as early as possible.

Medications to decrease fluid buildup, inflammation, and infection are often used to treat otitis media, but treatment often calls for the insertion of tubes to allow the fluid to drain, prevent infection, and avoid long-term, permanent damage.

Children as young as 1 month old can benefit from hearing aids when a hearing care professional is able to accurately diagnose and provide the right device. Cochlear implants (electronic devices placed in the inner ear to help stimulate hearing) are typically reserved for children with severe hearing loss who are not responding to other forms of treatment.

Training in alternative communication, such as lip-reading and sign language, begins as early as possible for children with severe hearing loss in order to limit the impact of hearing loss on their development.

#4 – How do I deal with my child’s hearing loss?

The fear and anxiety of parents who have children with hearing loss are common. Parents we’ve worked with have provided us with several tips that helped them to cope, including:

  • Seek out experienced parents who have found ways to deal with various struggles. In addition to providing plenty of advice, this provides your child access to other children with hearing challenges.
  • Hold onto dreams and ambitions. Hearing loss doesn’t mean that your child won’t be able to lead a happy, rewarding and successful life with the same opportunities as others.
  • Accept, love, and encourage your child. Focus on who your child is rather than their hearing challenges. This gives your child the confidence to be comfortable about taking part in everything life has to offer.
  • Empower your child to succeed. When you treat your child the same as those without hearing challenges, you prevent them from believing their condition makes them a lesser class of individuals or incapable of succeeding in life.

#5 – What does the future look like for my child with hearing loss?

Whether we hear well or not, the development of skills and social competencies depends on how we handle the successes and failures we encounter in life. Being overprotective of your child will make it more difficult for them to succeed.

Prepare your child to face the “real world” by setting a good example. Making fair demands that transform children into strong, independent, self-reliant adults, in spite of their hearing loss. Teach them to take responsibility for their hearing loss, whether it involves properly using and caring for their hearing devices or putting their best effort into learning and mastering alternative communication techniques.

Expanding on Children’s Hearing Loss

Recognizing Signs of Hearing Loss in Children

While newborn screenings are standard, they may not detect all types of hearing loss. As a child grows, watch for signs such as a lack of reaction to loud sounds, inattention, frequent ear-rubbing, unexplained irritability, or difficulty following directions. If your child shows any of these signs, or if they have trouble hearing the television at normal volumes, it’s important to consult with a pediatric audiologist.

Treating Hearing Loss in the Pediatric Population

Early intervention is crucial for children with hearing loss. Treatments may range from medications to manage infections and fluid buildup to surgical interventions like tympanostomy tubes. For more profound hearing loss, hearing aids or cochlear implants may be recommended, and for those with severe impairments, early education in alternative communication methods such as sign language is essential.

Supporting Children With Hearing Loss

Navigating a child’s hearing loss is a journey for the entire family. Connecting with experienced parents, maintaining high aspirations for your child, and providing a nurturing yet empowering environment can profoundly impact their self-esteem and future success. It’s important to embrace your child’s identity beyond their hearing loss and to encourage them to fully participate in all aspects of life.

Root Causes of Pediatric Hearing Loss

Hearing loss in children can stem from a variety of sources, including genetic conditions, middle ear infections (otitis media), certain illnesses like measles or the flu, head injuries, or the effects of ototoxic medications. Each of these causes can have a distinctive impact on a child’s hearing, requiring specialized attention from pediatric hearing care professionals.

Envisioning a Future for Children With Hearing Loss

The trajectory of a child’s life is influenced by their experiences and the guidance they receive. Children with hearing loss, with the right support and resources, can grow into resilient and self-sufficient individuals. Encouraging independence and self-advocacy, particularly in managing their hearing health, is key to preparing them for the broader challenges of life.

At Flex Audiology, we are committed to providing comprehensive auditory care and guidance for your child. Our pediatric audiologists are experts in their field, offering advanced diagnostics, tailored interventions, and unwavering support to families navigating the complexities of hearing loss. Together, we work toward a future where every child reaches their full communicative and developmental potential.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

Early Detection Produces Best Results

Early detection of any type of hearing loss, but especially with children, provides audiologists with a broader range of options and a higher likelihood of success.

If you suspect that your child has a hearing problem, contact the pediatric professional at Flex Audiology for a thorough, comprehensive hearing assessment.

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Ask Dr. Person

Hearing Aids & Age

Hearing Aids & Age

To set the scene here, I’d like to tell a story about a patient that I saw recently. I also told this story over video after the day ended.  One of my patients is in the upper end of his 90s. He got fit with hearing aids from our clinic a few weeks prior to this...