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Early Hearing Aid Use Improves Speech in Kids With Hearing Loss

Early Hearing Aid Use Improves Speech in Kids With Hearing Loss

Detecting mild-to-moderate hearing loss is difficult in kids unless they undergo regular hearing evaluations. Alert parents can easily detect severe or profound hearing loss, but only an audiometric test can confirm a mild hearing loss.

In case your kid has been diagnosed with hearing loss, you should not neglect the loss even if it’s a mild hearing loss. Various researchers have proven beyond doubt that early hearing aid use can make a big difference in the speech and language development of the child.

After studying the audiogram—also called the hearing loss report—our doctors of audiology will determine the type of hearing loss so that your child can continue to succeed.

What Are The Types of Hearing Loss?

There are 3 types of hearing loss which your children may experience:

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This is the most common type of hearing loss. Most people with hearing loss suffer from sensorineural hearing loss, it is mostly due to loud noise exposure. This type of hearing loss is permanent, but can often be corrected with hearing aids.

Conductive Hearing Loss

This is the second most common type of hearing loss. Some of the common reasons are ear infections, earwax blockage, middle ear bone issues, and eardrum rupture. Conductive hearing loss can usually be corrected with surgery.

Mixed Hearing Loss

As the name suggests, this type of hearing loss is a mix between sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. The person affected by this type of hearing loss can be treated for the conductive hearing loss, but the sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, often requiring a blend of treatment.

What Is The Next Step After Detecting Conductive Hearing Loss In A Child?

Once it is confirmed that the child has conductive hearing loss, our audiologist will inspect the ears with an otoscope to determine if there is an accumulation of earwax. If so, the audiologist will remove the earwax causing ear blockage.

If this is the only reason, the child will be able to hear normally. In case of swelling due to infection, our doctors of audiology will refer you to a physician who can prescribe antibiotics to reduce the inflammation.

What Is The Next Step After Detecting Sensorineural Hearing Loss In A Child?

In the case of sensorineural hearing loss in kids, our doctors of audiology will recommend further tests like Auditory Brainstem Response test, Auditory Steady State Response test or Central Auditory Evoked Potentials. These tests will help our audiologists to identify the exact cause or location of the hearing impairment.

What Are Common Solutions For Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

In most of the cases, sensorineural hearing loss cannot be effectively treated with medicines. The common solution is the use of hearing aids, of which many of the top hearing aid manufacturers make children-specific hearing aids.

Most parents can be confused about dealing with mild hearing loss, as they feel that a mild hearing loss is manageable compared to the inconvenience the kid will have to go through with hearing aids.

However, kids with mild hearing loss should certainly use hearing aids. Our audiologists will prescribe the right style and type of hearing aid so that the child is comfortable wearing them.

Delaying in providing children with hearing aids is inadvisable, as kids’ speech and language skills are yet to be developed. Kids learn to speak as they hear, they imitate their parents and mimic the words. But if they are unable to hear clearly, that learning is greatly impaired.

Do Hearing-Impaired Kids Require Speech Therapy?

In the majority of the cases, hearing impaired children do require speech therapy. The ability of the child to hear well results in good communication skills. The first 3 years of the child are very important for the development of speech and language skills. At this age, the brain is developing, and the child’s speech comprehension power is at its peak.

You will need professional help at this stage, parents unless trained, do not have the resources to train the child. Consult a speech-language pathologist—also called speech therapist. They are professionals who conduct speech therapy for children. The therapy is personalized depending on the age and the vocal skills of the child.

Why Hearing Aids Are Important For Speech Therapy?

The following reasons more than justify the need for hearing aids for kids with hearing loss undergoing speech therapy:

  • Use of hearing aids avoids the delay in the development of speech and language skills.
  • The child does not fall behind in academic performance, as falling behind in academic grades can limit vocational choices
  • Hearing aid use ensures that communication skills are on par with their peers, while under-developed communication skills result in lack of socializing, self-isolation, and low self-esteem.
  • Low academic scores and limited communication can result in an unsatisfactory professional career.

Use of hearing aids as soon as hearing loss is detected can make all the difference in a child’s life. Early use of hearing aids and therapy can help the child to lead a full and interactive life.

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