Effects of Hearing Loss on Development
The following are the effects of hearing loss:-
- Delay in speech and language development
- Difficulty in communication leading to lack of social skills or social isolation
- Difficulty learning leading to lowered academic achievement
- Difficulty structuring complex sentences
- It may affect vocational choices.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Here are some of the major causes of hearing loss:-
- Otitis media – an infection of the middle ear
- Injury or illness – illnesses such as chickenpox, measles, meningitis, encephalitis, and flu can lead to deafness. An injury in the head, loud noises and some medications can also be a cause.
- Birth problems – a child might be born deaf due to genetic reasons
The symptoms can be divided into 2 variants, depending on the baby’s age.
Some of the early signs in infants include:-
- Not startled by loud noises
- Not responding to your voice
- Does not turn towards sound
- Can hear some words and not others
- Does not form a few words by 12 months
Signs in older children:-
- Speech development delays
- Not responsive to directions
- Unclear speech
- Can only watch TV or listens to music at a high volume
Please contact your physician if you notice any of these signs. Early detection may mean better chances for recovery.
Testing for Deafness
A screening test for hearing can be done before the baby is discharged from the hospital. If it was out of range, the next step would be more tests. Your baby will need to see an audiologist for a full hearing evaluation. You can get a proper diagnosis from an Ear, Nose & Throat centre in hospitals such as MP Shah in Nairobi.
The audiologist may recommend a genetics evaluation to help determine the reason behind the hearing loss.
Treatment and Management
Early detection means that a child can start treatment early. The right treatment for hearing loss depends on the cause of the problem and the level it is at.
Treatments may include:
- Watchful waiting, medication, and ear tubes to drain fluids if it’s caused by otitis media
- Cochlear implants
- Hearing aids
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019