Hearing Impairment in Kids

We are all aware of the significance of our body’s five senses. Hearing is one of the five senses that helps us to perceive and respond to our surroundings. The capacity to hear is critical for a child’s development of speech and language abilities. According to the report, around 7% of India’s population are born with an impairment of hearing. Quite a huge number! It used to be really difficult to diagnose hearing loss in kids. However, early identification of hearing impairment is achievable, thanks to modern medical research and technology.

If you suspect your kid has a hearing impairment, get medical attention right away to avoid problems. Here’s all you need to know about children’s hearing loss and how to properly manage it!

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HEARING IMPAIRMENT IN KIDS

Hearing impairment, often known as deafness/hearing loss, occurs when a person is unable to hear sounds partially or fully. When a child can’t hear noises below a specific decibel level, they have a hearing impairment (25 decibels or more). A child’s hearing loss might be minor, moderate, or severe. It’s possible that a youngster has a mild or extensive hearing loss if he or she can’t understand or listen to routine conversations. Hearing loss can sometimes progress from mild to severe. A youngster with substantial hearing loss is unable to communicate through sign language because he or she cannot hear from both ears. There are three types of deafness:

1. Pre-Lingual Hearing loss: This occurs before the youngster was able to talk or understand words.

2. Post-Lingual Hearing loss: This occurs after a youngster has learned to talk and understand words.

3. Unilateral/Bilateral Hearing loss: Hearing loss in one ear is unilateral deafness, whereas hearing loss in both ears is bilateral deafness.

impairment of hearing

TYPES OF HEARING IMPAIRMENT IN KIDS:

There are 5 distinct types of hearing impairment which indicate the severity of the hearing loss. Hearing loss is also caused by any one of numerous conditions, which are discussed hereafter.

1. Conductive hearing impairment:

The capacity of the ear to transport sound from the outer and middle ear into the inner ear is hindered or decreased in this type of hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is caused by fluid or infection beneath the eardrum, or by an ear wax obstruction. However, medicines or surgery can be used to treat it.

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2. Sensorineural hearing impairment:

The vestibulocochlear nerve or the inner ear is the primary driver of this hearing loss. Damage to hair cells in the inner ear is the reason. Patients can only sense sound if it is louder. Hearing aids can also help with this problem.

3. Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder:

A hearing loss makes it difficult for a person to hear or understand speech. The auditory nerves are unable to convey instructions to the brain in this type of hearing loss. Patients with this condition do not hear sound in a logical order, making speech difficult to comprehend.

4. Mixed hearing impairment:

Mixed hearing loss occurs when conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss occur at the same time. This can occur when the child’s middle and inner ears are injured, resulting in hearing loss. A persistent ear infection that infects the middle and inner ear might cause this syndrome.

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5. High and Low-Frequency hearing impairment:

High-frequency hearing loss occurs when a kid has difficulties hearing noises between 2000 and 8000 hertz as a result of hereditary factors, loud noise exposure, certain diseases, medication side effects, and other causes.
Low-frequency hearing loss occurs when a person has difficulty hearing sounds below 2000 hertz or below. Low-frequency noises may be difficult for a youngster to hear due to sensorineural hearing loss.

Causes of hearing impairment in kids:

1. Congenital hearing loss

Hearing loss that is present at birth is known as congenital hearing loss. This loss might be due to genetic or non-genetic factors. Non-genetic factors might include:

The following are some possible genetic causes:
Autosomal recessive hearing loss – When a kid inherits a recessive or defective gene from both parents.
Autosomal dominant hearing loss – When a faulty or aberrant gene from one of the parents with hearing loss is handed down to the kid.

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2. TRANSIENT hearing loss

An infection in the middle ear or otitis media can also cause temporary hearing loss. Due to the location of the Eustachian tube in this age, otitis media is a highly prevalent kind of infection in young children. This form of hearing loss is transient and recovers on its own, but if the infection recurs, the eardrum, bones, and auditory nerves may be damaged.

3. ACQUIRED hearing loss

This form of hearing loss is developed after birth and some of the reasons for acquired hearing loss in babies include:

  • Diseases like whooping cough, mumps, measles, and meningitis are examples.
  • Eardrum perforation
  • Head injury or trauma
  • Medications’ side effects
  • Auricular infections
  • Loud noises
SYMPTOMS OF HEARING IMPAIRMENT IN KIDS:

The child has a hearing loss if he/she :

  • Not paying attention (Tips to increase concentration in kids)
  • Has speech or language difficulty
  • Has learning disability
  • Provides irrelevant responses
  • Unable to listen carefully or bends towards the person who is speaking
  • Talks too loudly
  • Tries to read your lips during a conversation
  • Has ear pain or hears strange noises
Diagnosis of Hearing impairment in kids:

The following methods help to diagnose Hearing loss in newborns and young children:

AgeDiagnosis
Birth – 4months– Loud noises should make your infant react.
– Your child should respond to your voice (by smiling or cooing)
– High-pitched noises should shock or wake up your infant.
5 – 9 months– When you speak to your infant, he or she should grin or react.
– At different sounds, your infant should turn his head.
– Your baby’s attention should be drawn to the toys that generate noise.
– Your kid should be able to interpret or mimic hand gestures 
10-15 months– Baby should respond when called by their name
– They should be able to repeat common words
– Baby should make sounds
– They should use their sounds or voices to grab your attention
16 -24 months– Baby should follow simple instructions
– They should be able to use simple words or name a few common objects
– Baby should listen to the songs or rhymes and recognise them.

Also, check 6 month baby food chart

5 Foods that can help to improve hearing impairment:
1. Magnesium

When the inner ear is subjected to loud noises, magnesium can aid sustain nerve activity and protect the hair cells. Magnesium can also enhance blood flow, but a deficiency of it might result in oxygen starvation. Eat more magnesium-rich foods like dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, nuts (especially Brazil nuts, cashews, and almonds), whole grains, avocados, salmon, legumes, kale, spinach, and bananas to help keep your ears healthy and protect against hearing loss.

2. POTASSIUM

Hearing loss is a result of the decrease in fluid levels in the inner ear, however, having adequate potassium can assist the body manage fluid levels. Cucumbers, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, potatoes, eggs, bananas, apricots, oranges, peas, avocados, spinach, coconut, and watermelon are all potassium-rich foods that you should include in your diet.

3. FOLATE

Circulation is important for the health of your ears, and folate can assist improve circulation. Getting enough folate in your diet can also help prevent hearing loss by keeping the hair cells in the inner ear healthy. Eat folate-rich foods like sprouts, kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas,  whole grains, lemons, melons, bananas, eggs, peanuts, and sunflower seeds to increase your folate consumption.

4. ZINC

Zinc is thought to aid cell development and can also improve the immune system, which can help prevent ear infections (Effective home remedies for Ear infection in kids). Dark chocolate, oatmeal, yoghurt, beans, lentils, peanuts, cashews, mushrooms, kale, spinach, garlic, and pumpkin seeds are all zinc-rich foods that can assist your immune system and capacity to heal.

5. OMEGA-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are often ignored, yet having enough of them in your diet might help maintain your ears healthy as you age. Walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds,  sprouts, and spinach are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help postpone or prevent age-related hearing loss.

TREATMENT FOR HEARING IMPAIRMENT IN KIDS:

Hearing loss in children is treated differently depending on the severity and symptoms. Your doctor may recommend the following treatment options based on this:

  • Medications: If the hearing loss is a result of an ear infection, the doctor may also prescribe medicines to treat the infection that is causing the child’s hearing difficulty.
  • Hearing aids: Your doctor may prescribe hearing aids for your kid, if he or she has sensorineural hearing loss, as drugs and surgery will not be able to heal this type of hearing loss.
  • Surgical procedures: If the youngster is having temporary hearing loss as a result of blockage or wax in the ear, surgery may be recommended to correct the problem.
  • Implants for Cochlear: The doctor may prescribe these implants if the youngster is having severe hearing loss. These are surgically implanted devices that transform sound into electrical impulses that are subsequently sent through the inner ear.
  • Speech delay: If the kid’s speech or speaking abilities have been impacted by the hearing loss, the doctor may recommend speech therapy after the child receives cochlear implants or hearing aids.

Hearing loss can have a variety of consequences for your kid, so get medical care as soon as you see any indications of hearing loss. You will be able to better deal with this situation if you get proper medical assistance and support.

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