While hearing loss is a concern at any age, it is more so in children. This is because hearing impairment at a young age can lead to developmental challenges, if not recognized by caregivers and treated by Best ENT Specialist in Karachi. If you think your child has hearing issues, get immediate help to make the diagnosis and start therapy.
Read on to know more about hearing loss in children and how to deal with it:
Hearing loss in children can be congenital, or acquired. This loss can be in one ear (unilateral) or in both ears (bilateral). Such children experience difficulty in learning, developing socially and emotionally, and expressing themselves. Communicating their needs is particularly difficult for children who suffer from hearing loss, especially if they are very young.
Children can experience complete hearing loss or partial hearing loss. The most common signs that the child has any type of hearing loss include:
- Failure to react to loud noises.
- Failure to respond when called from far away or in a noisy room.
- Difficulty in following class work.
- Failure to pay attention.
- Acting out—because they have difficulty communicating their needs
- Failure to say complete sentences to missing words.
- Difficulty in following conversations.
- Asking parents or siblings to repeat what they said.
- Being socially awkward and getting along with others.
- Difficulty in interpreting soft speech and similar sounding words.
- Difficulty in speaking themselves; such children make short sounds.
There are certain measures that parents must take to improve the life of children with hearing loss. This includes:
- Creating the right environment at home:
- When speaking to children with hearing loss, ensure that there is no noise in the background (e.g. television or washing machine).
- For children with partial hearing loss, speak in their good ear.
- For better acoustics, using noise absorbers like curtains, carpets and acoustic tiles.
- Cutting noise in the background by closing doors and windows.
- Using a bulletin board at home.
- Parents and siblings should watch out for signs of frustration in the child if they are not being understood.
- Parents and siblings should also check their own frustration if the child is unable to understand them. Time should be given to the child to think and understand before they respond.
- Parents should ensure that they speak clearly, with their lips and face visible when speaking to the child with hearing loss.
- Even children with hearing loss using FM system and hearing aids can have difficulty in understanding speech, so be sure to speak clearly.
- Creating the right classroom environment:
- Children with hearing loss should sit closer to the teacher.
- The seating of such children should be away from window or sources of loud noises.
- Classroom amplification system should be used if possible.
- Charts and lists should be put up showing classroom routine.
- Writing instructions instead of just saying them.
- Teacher should be in clear view of the child so they can see their lip movement.
- Teachers should also give more one-on-one attention to these children and help them with exam instruction etc.
- Teachers should always have extra batteries for the hearing aids provided by the parents.
- Pre-school learning:
- Parents can help their child learn language and communication by engaging them in hands-on activities.
- Using activities of daily living to teach the child new words. This can be anything like going shopping or a walk.
- Reading to the child. This activity is highly recommended and must be done as much as possible.
- Talking to the child about the things they are experiencing like the smell they are smelling or the activities they are doing.
Parents, caregivers, audiologists and specialists like Dr. S.M. Hammad Raza need to work together to help children with partial and total hearing loss.