When thinking about hearing loss, we generally assume it is something that comes with age. The older we get, diminished hearing is just one of the problems we have to put up with. However, problems with our hearing can actually occur at any age, and for the purposes of this article, hearing issues can be problematic with your children too.
While some children are born with what is known as congenital hearing loss, you need to be aware that children without previous hearing issues are susceptible to hearing loss as they grow older. Due to excessive noise from music and television, as well as from issues pertaining to certain childhood illnesses, it might be that your child’s hearing is not as strong as it used to be.
These are some of the telltale signs you need to be alerted to.
- Your child doesn’t always respond to you when you’re talking to them
While this is normal for some kids – sometimes they turn on selective listening, especially when they don’t like what we’re asking – it might also be a symptom of hearing loss. People who struggle with hearing often struggle to hear certain vocal tones, for example, or if they are surrounded by other sounds, they might not hear everything going on around them. So, before you lose your rag with your child because you think they are being ignorant, know that this might not be the case. They might simply have trouble hearing you!
- Your child says ‘what’ a lot
Once or twice is nothing to worry about, but if your child regularly says ‘what’ in response to what other people are telling them, you need to be concerned. And we aren’t talking about your concern that they aren’t using the word ‘pardon’ instead of ‘what,’ despite your efforts to teach them good manners. Your concern should be that they are having difficulty making out what people are telling them, and so if you hear the word ‘what’ on a regular basis, a hearing specialist should be your next port of call.
- Your child isn’t doing well at school
While some children do need academic support in certain areas of their schooling, you should show concern when their grades certainly start to drop, or if they suddenly start misbehaving in class. It might be that your child can’t hear their teacher correctly, especially if they are sat towards the back of the class, and this might impact their academic performance, as well as their behaviour when they start to ‘act up’ to hide the fact they have a problem. Speak to your child’s teacher about your concerns, and if there are no other known reasons as to why your child’s grades are slipping, consider the possibility of hearing loss.
- Your child complains about his ears
If your child complains of pains in his ears, tinnitus problems, or feelings of a clogged ear, then it’s time to take action. It might simply be a case of earache, in which case your pharmacist may be able to help, and your children might have a buildup of wax in their ears, in which case you can use olive oil to deal with the problem. But then again, these issues may be symptomatic of a hearing problem, so if they are persistent, seek help from a specialist as soon as possible to get your child’s ears checked for any signs of damage.
For both speech and language development, as well as for coping with everyday life, your children’s hearing is paramount, so if anything we have suggested here has related to your child, do the right thing and seek professional assistance. Let us know too if you have any other advice, especially if you have experienced hearing loss in yourself or through your children.
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