A baby usually develops hearing skills within the mother’s womb. This skill sharpens over the course of one year after birth wherein the baby will come to recognize different sounds coming from all around him/her. It is customary for some children to experience partial hearing loss during the first few months after birth. While this may not be a cause for concern, you would need to see a doctor if the issue persists for more than week or so.
Different causes for hearing loss in children
In some cases, a newborn may inherit the issue from a parent who has it. The baby may inherit a recessive gene passed down in the family on either side, causing him/her to experience the issue.
Babies born underweight can also experience hearing loss while infections caused by viruses like cytomegalovirus or rubella can also affect the mother and her fetus during pregnancy.
The many other causes for hearing loss in babies would range from untreated ear infections and fluid blockage in middle ear to even ear drum rupture.
Symptoms of hearing loss in children
Early assessment is considered absolutely essential to help treat your baby’s hearing problem. Accordingly, here are some signs that will help you identify if your baby’s hearing skill is normal or not.
Newborn babies with hearing problems would tend to remain calm even with loud noises around them. They would not be startled by these noises at all. They would also not respond to your voice.
As they grow, they would not respond to sounds around them and would not turn towards these sounds as well. They would not notice you until they see you. By 6 months or so, they would not start babbling the usual sounds a baby would hear during this period. They would also prefer vibratory sounds which they can fee. You would know that there is a problem if they can’t repeat even simple words like Dada, Mama or Bye Bye by 1 year.
Treatment Options for kids with hearing loss
Here are some useful treatment options you can try out for your child in this case.
- Wait and Watch
Sometimes the hearing loss may be induced by a temporary ear infection. So wait and see if the condition clears out on its own. If it does, then there is nothing to worry about.
In the case of an ear infection, the doctor may prescribe some ear drops as well as some antibiotics to treat the infection.
- Hearing Aids
If your child is diagnosed with hearing loss, you would need to opt for alternatives to aid him. A hearing aid can be used even when the baby is 1 month old, thus helping your baby get used to the device at a young age itself.
- Ear Tubes
Sometimes the doctor may prescribe ear tubes to drain out excess fluid from the ears. In addition to preventing infection, this would clear out fluid blockages in the ear, allowing your baby to hear properly again.
A cochlear implant is usually recommended in case the problem is very serious and when hearing aids do not help much. These electronic devices can help your baby hear even soft sounds clearly again.
Useful tips for parents
As a parent, you would need to ensure that your baby does not grow up into an individual who is ashamed of his/her condition. Here are some tips that would help you handle your baby better in this situation.
Communicate effectively using hand signals for your baby to understand what you are saying. Make it a point to stand in front of him/her and look him/her in the face when talking.
Repeat the words you use once or twice until your baby understands them. Plan a program with your aid of your doctor to test your baby’s assistive devices from time to time. This will help you handle his/her condition better.
Handling a baby with hearing loss can be problematic for first time parents. However, with a little know how and patience as well as the guidance of a doctor, you can handle your kid’s condition with ease.