Hearing loss in kids isn’t common, but it’s not rare, either. In fact, the CDC estimates that about 3 out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States have hearing loss in one or both ears.
Parents spend a lot of time with their kids, which means it’s often moms and dads who first notice the signs of hearing loss in their children. While the first response might be fear or worry, the good news is, plenty of treatments can help. The key is seeking help at the first signs of a problem.
With locations in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah, ENT Specialists is a trusted provider of pediatric ENT services, including hearing tests and treatments specifically for kids and teens. If you suspect your child has a hearing problem, here’s what our team wants you to know.
Hearing loss in kids: signs and causes
Many of the signs of hearing loss are the same in kids as they are in adults. These include signs like:
- Inability to hear soft sounds
- Not responding to questions
- Problems hearing in loud environments
- Asking for directions or statements to be repeated
- Listening to music or TV at a loud volume
Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell if your child is having trouble hearing or if they’re distracted by something else and simply not paying attention.
Some hearing loss signs are especially noticeable in school or when kids are around their peers. These include:
- Problems with speech and language development
- Problems following directions in school
- Poor school performance
- Difficulties socializing
Of course, as with adults, other issues can contribute to these signs. Having a hearing exam is the best way to know if your child has hearing loss, and it’s also the first step in having that loss treated.
Testing for hearing problems
Hearing evaluations begin with a review of your child’s symptoms, along with your own observations of their hearing-related behavior. We also ask about your child’s personal and family medical history and any medications they’re taking or medical treatments they’ve had.
Next, we use instruments to look inside your child’s ears, nose, and throat. The instruments we use are designed for kids, so they’re more comfortable. During this exam, we look for potential structural concerns, infections, or other issues that could be causing a problem with hearing.
Depending on your child’s symptoms and other factors, we may perform a hearing test, a swallow evaluation, special tests that focus on the inner workings of the ear, or diagnostic imaging of your child’s ears and sinuses. We use a special tool called the MiniCAT™ scanner to obtain highly detailed images noninvasively.
Your child’s treatment will depend on the cause of their hearing problems and might include:
- Antibiotics for infections
- Allergy treatments
- Hearing aids
- Ear tubes for chronic ear infections
- Other minor surgeries, like tonsillectomies
Throughout your child’s visit, we take time to explain the exam to your child, so they feel engaged, included, and comfortable.
Pediatric audiology specialists
Hearing plays an important role in all our lives, but in kids who depend on hearing for growth and development, having good hearing is critical. If you think your child might have a hearing problem, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at ENT Specialists today, and learn how we can help.