What is Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is one of the most common causes for speech and language delay in kids. It not only causes delay in speech but also slows down learning . It has been most studied and documented. Recent studies suggest the earlier hearing loss is identified and intervened, the easier it is to help the child to bridge the gap.

Red flags for hearing loss

Cases of hearing loss in kids are as unique as our children who develop them. The red flags of hearing loss in babies and children are not always uniform, but some signs are helpful for understanding whether your child may be suffering from hearing loss.

  • Delayed speech
  • Unclear speaking
  • Can’t follow basic directions
  • Says, “Huh?”, “What?”
  • Plays video games or watches TV too loud
  • Misses learning milestones like playing well with others, etc.

Types of Hearing loss in children

There are 3 main types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed (both sensorineural and conductive). These types of hearing loss can be present at birth (congenital). Or they can occur after birth (acquired).

  • Sensorineural

This is a loss of function in the inner ear or with the connection to the brain. It is a permanent type of hearing loss which is usually congenital in nature.

  • Conductive hearing loss

This is a problem in the outer or middle ear where sound waves are not sent to the inner ear correctly. It is the most common type of hearing loss in children. It often develops after birth.

  • Mixed hearing loss

This is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. There is damage to the outer, middle, or inner ear, or the auditory nerve.

To see related video about Hearing development

Causes of Hearing loss in children

Fluctuating conductive hearing loss nearly always occurs with all types of otitis media. In fact it is the most common cause of hearing loss in young children.

  • Congenital Causes

The term congenital hearing loss implies that the it is present at birth. It can include hereditary hearing loss or hearing loss due to other factors present either in utero (prenatal) or at the time of birth.

  • Acquired Causes

Acquired hearing loss is a loss which appears after birth, at any time in one's life, perhaps as a result of a disease, a condition, or an injury.

Hearing Developmental Milestones for Children

Did you know that a baby starts to hear sounds even before it is born?

Yes! Further, the development of hearing happens when the baby is in the mother’s womb and by around 6-7 months of gestation, it starts to hear sounds.

This blog is on, Hearing Developmental Milestones for Children.

Hearing-Speaking: Are they related?

Hearing-Speaking, We usually get a question of

-How hearing problem from birth plays a critical role in speech and language development, communication and learning?

-When the child cannot hear why cannot he/she speak?

Hearing Loss : Listen and learn

To answer these questions we need to know something about the ear development. A child starts hearing to environmental sounds not only from the time he/she is born but also from 18 weeks of gestational age. Research says that fetus as young as 18-19 weeks hears mother’s heartbeat and other louder environmental sounds. Ultrasound studies show that a child can respond to mother’s voice even before birth. It is well documented that a child starts developing auditory skills from the day 1. The primitive startle reflexes to loud sounds is gradually developed into more and more advanced responses like localization, comprehension, understanding etc.

What is a Cochlear implant?

A Cochlear implant is an electronic device that partially restores hearing. It is meant for people who have severe hearing loss from inner-ear damage and who get limited benefit from hearing aids. A cochlear implant bypasses damaged portions of the ear to deliver sound signals to the auditory nerve unlike hearing aids, which just amplify sound.

The components include:
  1. A sound processor worn behind the ear, off the ear or on the body, captures sound and turns it into digital code. The sound processor has a battery that powers the entire system.
  2. The sound processor transmits the digitally-coded sound through the coil on the outside of  head to the implant.
  3. The implant converts the digitally-coded sound into electrical impulses and sends them along the electrode array placed in the cochlea (the inner ear).
  4. The implant’s electrodes stimulate the cochlea’s hearing nerve, which then sends the signals to the brain where they are interpreted as sound.

Hearing Aid Tips for children

Paediatric hearing aids, Speech and Language development happens at a very fast rate during the first few years of every child’s life. On an average, 2% of children are born with congenital hearing loss every year in India. Childhood Hearing Impairment is the leading cause of communication delays in children. When a child is diagnosed with Hearing Impairment, every parent’s concern is “Will my child be able to hear and speak?” The answer is “Yes, of course” provided the child gets access to timely and early hearing intervention.

Read more about hearing aid tips for children

ADIP Scheme for Hearing Impairment

Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit in humans today. The major percentage of the population of India suffers from milder degrees of hearing loss and unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss. According to World Health Organization (2018) data, 63 million people suffer from a significant auditory loss in India.  The prevalence of hearing impairment in India is around 6.3% (Deafness and hearing loss (who.int) The estimated prevalence of childhood-onset deafness is 2% and adult-onset deafness in India is 7.6%.

The Government of India introduced the scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids/Appliances (ADIP) with effect from April 2005. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment implements the ADIP by providing grant-in-aid to the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and other executive agencies of the Centre/State Governments.

Speech Language Therapy for hearing loss

  • Auditory Verbal Therapy for Cochlear Implant kids

Auditory verbal therapy, Human communication is multi-sensory- involving visual, tactile, and auditory cues. The sense of hearing offers us a powerful means of communication.  Hearing connects and enables us to experience all the little things around us through sound. It enables us to socialize, work and communicate. Hearing empowers us and helps us lead our everyday lives without limitations. It allows collecting, processing and interpretation of sounds uninterruptedly and without conscious effort; so, we may take this distinct sense of communication for granted.

  • Speech Language Activities

Are you worried that your child with hearing loss is missing out on his Speech-Language Therapy sessions during the pandemic? Hearing Loss during COVID-19, Leave all your worries behind! Read the blog to know more about some speech language activities that you can do at home to stimulate speech and language skills.

Book your appointment now

For more ideas check out our other related blogs