Every year, 500 babies on average are born with hearing loss in Australia. Whether you’re about to become a parent or already have children, it’s best for your little ones to undergo a hearing evaluation early in order to identify and treat any problems promptly.
If you are concerned that your child is not hearing, schedule an assessment with an audiologist.
How hearing loss affects your child
Hearing loss can make it difficult for your child to learn and socialise with their peers. Here are the hurdles they may encounter without treatment:
- Inability to recognise speech patterns
- Difficulty in grasping new words
- Behavioural lapses
- Social aloofness
- Poor self esteem
- Auditory processing disorders
Evaluation in different stages
There are ways to detect the early signs of hearing loss.
Hospitals conduct hearing tests shortly after babies are born. In Australia, a common form of hearing test for new borns is Automated Auditory Brainstem Response or (AABR). AABR measures brainwaves in response to sound. The baby wears ear muffs and small electrodes are placed on the head. A pass result suggests the baby has normal, or near normal hearing. Another test utilised is Transient Otoacoustic Emissions or TEOAE . A small earpiece is inserted in the infants’ ears where sounds are played. In cases of normal hearing the machine will detect an echo. This echo should be produced by the child’s cochlea, or inner ear.
However, hearing loss may still happen even after your newborn has passed the AABR screen test by the hospital. It’s important to evaluate your child during these stages:
First few days up to 3 months
Your baby should be startled by claps and loud sounds. They will also be responsive to a soothing voice. As you talk to your child, they will watch your facial expressions and match them with the tone of your voice.
4 to 8 months
With constant contact and communication, your baby should be familiar with your voice. He or she should look back at you when you call from afar. They should already recognise your voice. Your child should also elicit reactions, such as a smile or laugh when you speak and play.
9 to 11 months
At this stage, your baby should know the sound of their name. He or she should also be responsive with conversations. They will start repeating words although they may sound unclear. Mumbles and unrecognisable utters are acceptable.
The baby should be able to speak simple words as his or her way of responding. They may be able to say “no”, “yes”, “mum”, “dad” or “milk”. Your baby should be amused by musical tunes too. If he or she enjoys a song, they will attempt to dance or sing along with it.
If your child isn’t reacting during the mentioned stages, consider an appointment with an Audiologist. With a thorough assessment, the specialist may prescribe further tests, treatments or hearing aids for your little one.
Early detection is crucial for your child’s development. If they are diagnosed with hearing loss, Affordable Hearing can provide affordable, quality hearing aids. Call 1300 658 742 to see how you can improve your child’s life today.