Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that approximately 1 to 3 per 1,000 children has hearing loss. Sometimes, children are born with hearing issues, while in other cases signs don’t show up until they are older.
If you have noticed that your toddler doesn’t seem to startle at loud noises or often fails to respond when you’re speaking to them at home or while out at Rose Rudman Park, it might be time to schedule an appointment for a hearing test.
While hearing tests are painless, they may be a bit confusing for young children. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to help prepare them and make it easier for everyone involved.
Work on Desensitizing Your Child’s Ears
During an audiological exam, your child’s ears will be getting a lot of attention. This can cause confusion and fussiness if they are not used to having their ears touched. Leading up to the appointment, you could try playing a game of “ear doctor” with your toddler. Do things like gently tug on the top part of their ear to look into their ear canal. You can have them do the same for you. If you have a play doctor’s kit, you can use that as well.
Practice Wearing Headphones
Since your child will have to wear headphones or earbuds during their hearing test, it will be much easier if they are already used to wearing them. Have your child wear headphones while doing something they like, such as watching cartoons or listening to music. Just make sure the volume isn’t up too loud so it doesn’t hurt their ears.
Have Your Child Repeat Words To You
You can do this by showing them familiar objects, like a spoon or ball, and prompting them to “Say spoon” or “Say ball.” If your child is too young to repeat words you can ask them questions like “Where is your head?” and have them point to their head to practice their listening skills.
Treating Hearing Loss in Children
It’s important for pediatric hearing loss to be identified and treated as soon as possible. In some cases, a child’s hearing problems may be due to a temporary cause, like fluid buildup in the ear due to an infection. Treating that will help correct any hearing loss.
In cases of permanent hearing loss, devices like pediatric hearing aids and cochlear implants help children stay connected and reach important learning milestones in speech and language development.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call SoundLogic today.