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Taking Your Child to the Audiologist

a young child receiving a hearing exam

Visiting an audiologist is one of the best ways of helping to ensure that any hearing loss you are experiencing can be dealt with at the earliest possible stage, and in the most effective possible way, so that your overall quality of life remains optimal.

Hearing loss of varying degrees is quite common – and with the correct diagnosis and treatment by a trained professional, it doesn’t have to present any significant obstacle in your life.

It's one thing for an adult to have a sense that they may be experiencing hearing loss, and to then arrange for their own audiologist appointment, but taking a child to see an audiologist is a bit different.

Firstly, parents might not even be clear about just what some of the initial signs are that their child might be experiencing hearing loss. Then, there may also be an array of understandable concerns about just how the process of going to an audiologist will affect a child, how they can be prepared for the event, and so on.

Here is a quick overview of the process of taking your child to the audiologist, along with some suggestions to help streamline the process as much as possible.

Why it’s worth taking your child to the audiologist

According to data from the American Academy of Otolaryngology, there are around three million children in the USA experiencing some degree of hearing loss, which includes four out of every 1,000 newborns.

While it’s common for newborn babies to have their hearing screened before leaving the hospital, it’s still possible that hearing difficulties may develop either in early or later childhood, for a variety of different reasons.

Just one cause of hearing loss, is exposure to loud noise – while other causes include eustachian tube defects, genetic conditions and side-effects from certain medications.

If you feel that there is any chance that your child is experiencing hearing loss, taking them to the audiologist can be an invaluable step in determining and addressing this early on, so that your child can continue to live their best possible life, unimpeded.

When to take your child to the audiologist

There are a variety of different signs of hearing loss that may be observed at different stages of childhood. Here are a few tell-tale signs look out for, both for toddlers and infants and also for older children.

Signs of hearing loss in toddlers and infants

Infants and toddlers have a series of developmental milestones which they will typically achieve, and which will act as tell-tale signs that everything is progressing as expected.

While each child is different, and there’s no cause to panic if your child doesn’t seem to be perfectly on schedule for a particular milestone, there are certain tell-tale signs that can show that your child may be experiencing hearing loss.

Firstly, infants naturally tend to react to noises in their environment, and in particular to the noises made by their parents. If your child doesn’t coo, laugh or gurgle when you speak to them, a possible reason might be because they aren’t hearing you – or aren’t hearing you very clearly.

As your infant grows older, it’s normal for them to follow your voice with their eyes, and to change the pitch of their voice and the way in which they vocalize.

By around 18 months of age, your child will typically have a small vocabulary of words they use to try and communicate with, and they should be able to respond to short sentences.

If your child doesn’t respond to sounds in their environment, and doesn’t appear to be developing their ability to verbalize, these might be tell-tale signs that they need to see an audiologist.

Signs of hearing loss in children

Ear infections are extremely common in young children – in fact, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that five out of every six children will have had an ear infection by the time they reach the age of three.

Apparent changes in your child’s hearing or communication following an ear infection might be a signal that they should visit and audiologist.

Other signs that your child might be experiencing hearing loss, include things like a desire to listen to the TV at an unusually high volume, speaking abnormally loudly, complaints of hearing issues, slow speech development and apparent inattention.

Tips for preparing a child for their own audiologist visit

An audiologist visit might seem daunting for a child, and it’s understandable that parents will want to know what to expect before taking their child in for an appointment.

Rest assured that the process is painless and very straightforward, and will involve the child wearing a pair of headphones and responding to simple instructions.

To set your child’s mind at ease, simply explain the outline of the process and emphasize that it will be non-invasive and pain-free.

To find out more about the audiology services provided by HEARINC, visit our website or contact us at 234-347-0155