Hearing Loss in Children

Hearing loss at any age is an emotional issue. It robs you of a sense that adds so much to the richness of life. This loss is especially heartbreaking in children. Not only does it impact the sound experience of a life yet to be lived to the fullest, but it also creates a barrier to a child’s number one job, learning. Fortunately, many causes of hearing loss are treatable, and it is often possible to return the sounds of childhood to a young life. Read on to learn more.

Categories of Hearing Loss

As with adults, hearing loss in children is measured in degrees. The loss can range from mild, one that causes difficulty hearing hushed tones such as a whisper to moderately severe, where the child can still hear loud speech, to a total loss resulting in deafness.

Hearing loss in children typically falls into two main categories. The most common, a conductive hearing loss, is associated with conditions in the external or middle ear that block the transmission of sound. These conditions can include ear infection, fluid in the ear, impacted earwax, a perforated eardrum, a foreign object in the canal or birth defects that alter the canal. Many of these conditions are treatable through minor procedures or surgery.

Sensorineural loss, also known as “nerve deafness”, is the second type. This occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or nerve pathways from the inner to the brain. Most often, this type of loss is congenital. It can also be caused by the use of ototoxic drugs (antibiotics), premature birth with a very low birth weight and some of the resulting treatments or a number of other medical conditions. Although there is no cure for this type of loss in most cases, children can often be helped with hearing aids.


Signs to look for possible hearing issues in children of different ages are:

Newborn / infant:

  • Not startling at loud noises
  • Not showing normal speech development

Toddler and older:

  • Sitting close to the television with the sound turned up to a loud volume
  • Having difficulty in school
  • Not responding to someone that is talking without being face to face
  • Stating they are having difficulty hearing

If you believe your child is experiencing hearing loss, consult with your child’s physician or pediatrician at the earliest possible date. Timely testing, diagnosis, and treatment provide the best course of action to ensure the highest quality lifetime Sound Experience for your child.

If you are uncertain about your child’s hearing ability, whether they are not hearing or not listening? Whatever your child’s age, there will be a tailor made assessment to suit their development.

Children’s hearing services:-

  1. Comprehensive hearing assessment including behavioral assessment, pure tone audiometry, tympanometry, acoustic reflex thresholds, Brain Evoked Response Auditory (BERA) and otoacoustic emissions.
  2. Custom made swim plugs for children with recurrent ear infections

If your child is regularly getting ear infections, custom made swim plugs will help to keep ears dry and help reduce risk of infection.

  1. Helping to distinguish between hearing loss and other causes for lack of response to sound

By ruling out hearing loss as a reason for not responding, you can move onto causes for your child’s lack of response.

  1.  Assessment of external and middle ear health

Is your child having regular earache or ear infection? Using tympanometry, reflex testing. We can help diagnose middle ear problems so that you can be advised of the best course of treatment.

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