When left untreated, pediatric hearing loss can head to issues with language, speech and social development. Whether your child was recently diagnosed with hearing loss or they have been living with this condition for some time, understanding what resources are available for your family is important.
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act
Developed in 2000, this act established state programs across the country to help identify children born with hearing loss and direct them to early intervention services. This act includes:
- Newborn screenings to test all infants for hearing loss
- Audiological diagnostic evaluations to confirm hearing loss
- Early intervention programs to help ensure children are successful in school and other aspects of life
Newborn Hearing Screenings
Every child born in the United States is screened for hearing loss before one month of age. Two simple and painless tests are used in this process.
Otoacoustic emissions testing determines how well certain parts of their ear respond to sounds. The auditory brainstem response test determines how their auditory nerve and brain stem respond to sound. A problem in either area may cause hearing loss.
Audiological Diagnostic Evaluations
If your child fails either of these screenings, they should be brought in for a more comprehensive hearing evaluation with a pediatric audiologist before they are three months old. This combination of tests will measure their exact type and degree of hearing loss.
Early Intervention Programs
Before six months of age, children who have been diagnosed with hearing loss should have an intervention program in place. The goal of these programs is to help enhance their language, communication, cognitive and social development, skills they will need in order to be successful.
Intervention options include family support and treatment options such as cochlear implants and hearing aids.
Prevent Future Loss
While some children are born with hearing loss, others develop it as they grow. A common risk for hearing loss involves exposure to noise. This includes listening to music loudly through headphones, playing an instrument in a band and taking dance classes.
In order to prevent permanent hearing loss, hearing protection should be worn. Common types of ear protection include disposable and custom-made earplugs.
To learn more about how to protect your child’s hearing health or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, contact Valley Audiology today.