By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.
With review and feedback from CEENTA’s pediatric audiology specialists.
Hearing is a very important factor in a child’s development. It is a key way that children learn to speak, it is an important part of how their brain develops between birth and age 3, and it helps parents form bonds with their children.
However, almost 15 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have some hearing loss, including three out of every 1,000 newborns. Hearing loss can lead to speech and language development delays, so it is important your child can hear as well as possible.
A child may be at risk for hearing loss if they:
– Weighed less than 3 ½ pounds at birth.
– Were jaundiced at birth and had a blood transfusion.
– Were in the neonatal intensive care unit for more than five days.
– Received antibiotics through a needle.
– Had meningitis.
– Had a severe head injury or skull fracture.
– Had recurring ear infections with fluid in the ears for more than three months.
Children may also have hearing loss if their mother drank alcohol or had German measles, a viral infection, or the flu while pregnant. A family history of early hearing loss can also be an indicator.
Loud noises can also affect a child’s hearing. It’s very important to keep sound levels low, especially if you have a baby. While they can be exposed to louder sounds, you don’t want them to be constant. Safe noise levels are lower than 60 decibels. For comparison, quiet conversation at home is about 50 dB, freeway traffic is 70 dB, a workplace can be 80-85 dB, and a jet takeoff is about 100 dB.
Some noise-making toys can be too loud for a baby, reaching anywhere from 80-120 dB.
White noise machines should only be used if the noise is lower than 60 decibels, they aren’t placed right near your baby’s crib, and you don’t run them constantly.
Even everyday noises in your home or neighborhood are too loud for your baby. For example, a vacuum cleaner runs at 70 dB, and a city street can get up 90 dB. Make sure to keep your baby in a separate room if you have to run something loud in the house, and keep their outdoor noise exposure to a minimum.
If you think your baby might have hearing loss, look for the following signs:
– They don’t react to or aren’t startled by unexpected loud noises.
– They don’t imitate sounds.
– They don’t turn their head in the direction of your voice.
– They don’t babble, or babbling has stopped.
Young children might have hearing loss if they don’t:
– React to soft sounds.
– Respond to first commands or calls by their name.
– Talk like children of a similar age.
– Show consistent growth in using or understanding words.
CEENTA offers hearing evaluations with audiologists for children of all ages. If a test identifies hearing loss, several options to address their hearing loss may be available. In some cases, your child may be additionally referred to an ENT physician for further evaluation of the hearing loss. Dependent on the type of hearing loss, our medical professionals will discuss your child’s needs with you and determine which device or treatment plan will best suit them.
We want your child to have healthy hearing. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at CEENTA.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like to make an appointment for your child with a CEENTA audiologist? Call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.