Can Hearing Disability in Children be Overcome?

Hearing loss can hamper speech, vocabulary, and social abilities in children. India accounts for the most children with hearing disabilities. There were around 1.59 million cases that reported hearing disability falling under the age group of 0-19 years, whereas on a global level, the numbers shot up to around 34 million.

If your newborn or child has recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, you probably have a lot of questions and worries. Although feeling overburdened and stressed is common, you should know that both at home and at school there are treatment and adaptation choices.

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is the partial or whole loss of hearing in one or both ears. Noise, ageing, illness, and inheritance can all contribute to hearing loss, which is a frequent issue.

What causes hearing disability In children?

Some children have a hearing disability since birth and some experience this condition as the aftermath of a traumatic event. The state of the impairment can vary from patient to patient ranging from temporary hearing loss to permanent disability.

  1. Congenital Causes
    When a child is diagnosed with hearing disabilities since birth, the term Congenital hearing loss is used actively. The congenital condition can either be hereditary or originate from other events during the prenatal stage and at the time of birth. More than 50% of congenital cases have a genetic disorder causing the condition. The genetic diseases are classified as follows:
    1. Autosomal Dominant Hearing Loss - When one parent transfers the dominant gene for hearing loss (typically, the parent(s) also experience loss in hearing), it accounts for Autosomal Dominant Hearing Loss. When a dominant gene is transferred, there is approximately a 50% chance that the child will have future implications.
    2. Autosomal Recessive Hearing Loss - There is a chance of parents carrying a recessive gene for hearing loss even if their hearing abilities are perfectly aligned. In this case, the events of the child experiencing trouble with hearing reduce to 25%.
    3. X-Linked Hearing Loss - Sometimes, mothers transfer a recessive gene for hearing loss on the sex chromosome. This situation can only occur in male patients since the mother cannot share the recessive gene with a female child.
      ​​​​​​​Apart from the conditions mentioned above, a few other genetic disorders initiate hearing loss as one of the consequences. These include:
      1. Down Syndrome 
      2. Usher Syndrome
      3. Crouzon Syndrome
      4. Treacher Collins Syndrome 
      5. Alport Syndrome 
         
  2. Non-Hereditary Causes
    There are plenty of other reasons for congenital hearing loss which are not hereditary. These include:
    1. Prenatal infections
    2. Toxin consumption during pregnancy
    3. Premature delivery
    4. Toxaemia (at the time of pregnancy)
    5. Anoxia (lack of oxygen)
       
  3. Acquired Causes
    Every child experiencing a hearing loss except for the above-mentioned congenital reasons can be a patient of acquired hearing loss. The condition can be triggered by fatal diseases, high-impact injuries, and even chronic conditions that affect other body parts. A few of the most prominent acquired causes include:
    1. Otitis Media (severe ear infection)
    2. Ototoxic drugs intake
    3. Meningitis
    4. Measles, Mumps, and Chicken Pox
    5. Impactful head injury
    6. High decibel noise exposure

Tackling hearing disability in children

The prognosis of a medical expert holds utmost importance in selecting the proper treatment for a child facing difficulty in sound reception. While many ways can help the child, here are some ways to help in battling hearing disability.

  1. Hearing Aids
    Hearing aids are one of the most sought-after solutions in the market right now. Many of these devices are available that cater to different classes of patients. Multiple options for children with high-intensity hearing loss come with unique features, such as high-quality hearing assistance.
    The children-friendly solutions also offer extra benefits, such as unique coverings to avoid invasion by the patient. The parents get to opt for the proper design of the device owing to the vast array of choices, including behind-the-ear hearing solutions to the ones at the ear canal's threshold.
     
  2. Cochlear Implants
    Cochlear Implants are responsible for stimulating the auditory nerve through stimulation generated electrically. It is inserted post successful surgery. These implants operate with the help of an external device, which is supposed to be worn by the patient.
    For toddlers and young children, companies have developed child-friendly headbands that are comfortable and safe.
    Note: A Cochlear Implant works collectively with the auditory nerve. However, an auditory brainstem implant is required if the auditory nerve is extremely small or absent. This implant bypasses the inner ear and hearing nerve to kindle the hearing pathways in the brainstem directly.
     
  3. Bone Anchored Hearing Aid
    There is a specific group of child patients that have a crooked middle ear or outer ear structure. These patients face difficulty wearing an external headband and are more suited for a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. 
    The Bone Anchored Hearing Aid is a prosthetic device surgically implanted in the inner ear to send out vibrations directly while in direct contact with the skull bones.
     
  4. Speech Therapy
    In the case of children falling under the age group (0-3), catching up on learning a language can pose many restrictions. During this situation, speech therapy helps solidify the patient's morale by allowing them to learn and use a language.
     
  5. Family Support Services
    The parents must maintain their composure to provide the right amount of strength. Many support services help the parents through transitionary support, therapy sessions, mentorship, and even forging a bond with their child.

Assistive devices to explore for hearing loss

  1. FM System
    A frequency modulation system or an FM system helps the patient to hear appropriately with the help of a microphone and receiver. This system is added as an accessory to the hearing aid/cochlear implant and works best with more background noises. The clear voice input of the speaker is directly transmitted to the receiver so that the patient can understand and respond without any external help from another human being.
     
  2. Captioning
    Most audio files come with captions so the users can read the text if they face problems with hearing.
     
  3. FM System
    A frequency modulation system or an FM system helps the patient to hear appropriately with the help of a microphone and receiver. This system is added as an accessory to the hearing aid/cochlear implant and works best with more background noises. 
    The clear voice input of the speaker is directly transmitted to the receiver so that the patient can understand and respond without any external help from another human being.
     
  4. Captioning
    Most audio files come with captions so the users can read the text if they face problems with hearing.

Takeaway

Temporary hearing loss is possible. There are also technologies, medicines, and other treatments available to aid when it is not. A child's hearing can be enhanced through tools like cochlear implants and hearing aids. Hearing difficulty can directly affect an individual's confidence, but the experts at HexaHealth are equipped to deal with such situations and provide valuable input. The ever-expanding team has been adding multi-specialist doctors to the roster so that every query can be answered perfectly and meticulously. 

Connect with a HexaHealth expert today, and take the following steps with the proper guidance!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is a partial or complete loss of hearing in one or both ears. It can be due to noise, ageing, sickness, and genetics. Vocabulary, speaking, and social skills may all be affected in an individual.

Can hearing loss affect kids?

Yes, hearing loss affects children frequently. According to the findings of the hearing test, a kid may be diagnosed with hearing loss if they cannot listen to noises that are louder than a specific volume. Boys are more likely to suffer from hearing loss.

How prevalent is hearing loss in kids?

The majority of children with hearing impairments live in India. In the age range of 0 to 19 years, there were almost 1.59 million cases of hearing disability documented, whereas there were approximately 34 million cases worldwide.

What is the most common cause of hearing loss in children?

Children's hearing loss may be congenital at birth or appear later in childhood (acquired). Congenital hearing loss can be inherited (genetic) or brought on by illnesses contracted during pregnancy, such as rubella.

What are the signs of hearing loss in children?

A few symptoms to find hearing loss in children are:

  1. Inability to pick up on small sounds
  2. Not responding to sound
  3. Delay in young children's language and speech development
  4. Unclear speech

Can children with hearing loss be treated?

There are two types of hearing loss, which is temporary and permanent. The treatments that can improve your child's hearing could be ear tubes, surgery, or medication, depending on the kind and cause of their hearing loss. With technologies like hearing aids or cochlear implants, children with persistent hearing loss can frequently hear.

What does it mean when a child fails a hearing test?

A hearing screening is a quick test to determine a child's ability to hear various noises. They either pass the test or don't. If they succeed, there is nothing further you need to do. If they don't pass, they might require more testing to determine whether they have hearing loss. A hearing test is available to everyone at any age.

Can a child's hearing be recovered naturally?

Unfortunately, there is no natural way to reverse hearing loss. In most cases, intervention is necessary to restore hearing. They could use hearing aids. Surgery can occasionally aid in the restoration of hearing.

How can hearing loss in children be treated?

Hearing aids, cochlear implants, and a combination of speech therapy or assistive listening devices may all be advised as a treatment for a child's hearing loss, depending on its degree and the cause.

Can hearing loss in children be reversed?

There is no recovery from a permanent hearing loss; it might progress and get worse (more severe). It means that, unless the hearing loss is caused by, for example, infections or earwax, there is no medical remedy or treatment that can bring the hearing back or restore hearing.

What food improves hearing in children?

Eat magnesium-rich foods. You must include food such as dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, nuts (especially brazil nuts, cashews, and almonds), whole grains, avocados, salmon, legumes, kale, spinach, and bananas, to help keep your ears healthy and to prevent hearing loss.

Can hearing loss in children be overcome?

No treatment or action will work similarly for every child. Close monitoring, follow-ups, and necessary adjustments will all be a part of good treatment regimens. For kids with hearing loss, there are numerous choices available.

Will a hearing aid help my child regain normal hearing?

No, a hearing aid cannot heal your hearing loss or return your hearing to normal. But if your child wants to join in activities you might think they have been losing out on due to hearing loss; a hearing aid will go a long way toward restoring normal hearing levels.

How do doctors diagnose hearing loss in children?

Audiometry tests can identify Conductive Hearing Loss (damage to the eardrum or the tiny ossicle bones) or Sensorineural Hearing Loss (damage to the nerve or cochlea). Several tests may be conducted during an audiometry evaluation.

What are the side effects of a hearing aid?

A few side effects could be when you start wearing a hearing aid. These includes:

  1. Tinnitus and headaches - As your brain needs to adjust and learn to filter out the sounds you don't want or need to hear, sounds may initially seem very loud when you first start using hearing aids, and it may take some time to find the perfect volume.
  2. Irritation and itchiness

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