While aging is one cause of hearing loss, other causes affect people of all ages, including children. For example, pediatric hearing loss refers to impaired hearing that children experience.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 3 of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with detectable hearing loss in one or both ears. Also, 15% of children and young teens, ages 6-19, have some degree of hearing loss. Pediatric hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. Hearing loss in children can cause speech and developmental delays. This highlights the importance of intervening early by seeking treatment integral to healthy development.
What causes pediatric hearing loss?
Signs of Pediatric Hearing Loss
Diagnosing and Treating Pediatric Hearing Loss
- Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) assesses hearing among infants as young as six months. This involves playing sounds and seeing if the infant turns their head toward the sound.
- For toddlers and preschoolers: hearing healthcare providers may use a strategy referred to as play audiometry. This turns the hearing test into a game where the child is asked to perform a task when they hear a sound (clap your hand when you hear the sound, for example).
- Older kids: similar to adult hearing tests, school-aged kids can have their hearing tested by responding to sounds played through their headphones. They are asked to indicate which sounds they can hear as this information is collected.