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How to tell if your child has a hearing problem and what to do

As a parent, you want to ensure your child has every opportunity to succeed. Whether it’s a good education, a strong support system or a well-developed talent, you’ll do almost anything to make it happen. Unfortunately, not everything is under our control though, including your child’s hearing ability. Without the ability to hear, your child’s ability to communicate and interact with the world may be severely limited. That’s why it’s so important to monitor your child’s hearing health, so you can address hearing problems early on. But how do you tell if your child has a hearing problem? And what should you do about it?

While hearing can be difficult to assess before a child is able to verbalize a problem, there are a few signs to watch for that could indicate a hearing problem.

  • Infants may fail to turn their head towards sounds, such as a parent speaking. They may not startle or respond to loud sounds and may not show interest in toys that make noise such as rattles or musical toys.
  • Toddlers may have delayed speech or mispronounce words. Another sign is difficulty hearing sounds at lower volume such as a TV show. They may not respond to their name.
  • Children may have difficulty controlling the volume of their voice, usually by speaking louder than others. They may ask you to repeat directions frequently and appear to have difficulty following directions, especially in noisy environments like school.

If you suspect your child has a hearing problem, your first call should be to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist). An ENT physician can perform a hearing test to determine the extent of your child’s hearing loss, and then create a treatment plan.

Treatment varies based on the severity of the problem and the age of your child. Sometimes treatment is as simple as removing built up ear wax that is muffling sound. Other children may need hearing aids or surgical intervention to correct more severe hearing loss. Lifestyle changes, such as limiting exposure to loud, prolonged noises can also have a positive impact on hearing.

Hearing is crucial to speech, language skills, communication and the enjoyment of life. If you suspect your child has a hearing problem, schedule an appointment with Biltmore ENT by calling (602) 560-1085. With the right treatment and medical team behind you, your child can thrive.

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