This is where I make one of those embarrassing mom confessions. My daughter, Lucie is partially deaf in one ear and was likely born with the condition. No, that’s not what I’m embarrassed about. It’s that my husband, Paul and I didn’t notice it until she was in third grade! In fact, no one did – not her teachers, her pediatrician, or any of the other adults in her life.
The only clue was a couple of failed hearing exams at her old school, which I dismissed because the woman administering them was a total ditz. It wasn’t until third grade when a more qualified person did the hearing test that I believed that it could be accurate. Still I thought there had to be an error as Lucie didn’t have any speech delays and never complained about being unable to hear us or her teachers. We had her tested again through the school district then through a hearing center. All the test came back showing that Lucie has partial deafness in one ear in the upper ranges.
Lucie doesn’t need hearing aids at this time, but does need to sit up front in the classroom so she can hear her teachers. She also needs to be monitored on a regular basis, which I have to confess I haven’t been doing since we moved to Georgia. (I had hoped to do that this summer, than my stupid brain surgery health issues changed my plans.)
My mom is also pretty much deaf at this point (she wears hearing aids in both ears) and my brother-in-law wears a hearing aid after a virus destroyed his hearing in one ear. My hearing’s not so great either, so hearing loss is obviously a big deal in my family. Should it be in yours?
Join us for at Hear The World Twitter Party October 22!
Did you know that every year, approximately 665,000 babies around the world are born with significant hearing loss? Since a child’s ability to hear and speak is vital for emotional and social development, it’s crucial to detect and manage hearing loss as early as possible! That’s why I’m teaming up with Hear the World Foundation to spread awareness of how to detect, treat and prevent hearing loss in young children.
So I’m inviting you to join our Twitter party to learn about protecting children's hearing and to ask questions of expert audiologist Christine Jones, Au.D., CCC-A, Director of Pediatric Clinical Research at Phonak as she answers your questions from @Hear_The_World. Here are the details:
When: Tuesday, October 22nd at 12pm ET
Where: We’ll be on Twitter. Just follow the #HearTheWorld hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via the Twtvite at twtvite.com/HearTheWorld2.
Prizes: Five $25 Amazon gift cards will be given away to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. (Applicable to U.S. winners only.)
My co-hosts will be:
- Andrea, Mommy PR - @mommypr
- Felicia, Go Graham Go - @gograhamgo
- Gina, Kleinworth & Co. - @FireFam5
- Mariah, Formula: Mom - @formulamom
- Mimi, Woven by Words - @MimiBakerMN
- Shell, Not Quite Susie Homemaker - @NotQuiteSusie
- TerriAnn, Cookies & Clogs - @cookiesANDclogs
Are you monitoring your child’s hearing?
In early childhood, our sense of hearing plays a crucial role in speech and communication skills development. If a hearing impairment is not diagnosed and treated at an early stage, this can have a negative impact your child’s personal development as well as educational, social and professional opportunities throughout life. So it’s critical that you’re able to recognize the signs of possible hearing loss early and take appropriate action quickly.
Children with untreated hearing impairment don’t perceive auditory stimuli to a sufficient extent or fail to respond to them at all. This will severely delay their language acquisition and may even prevent them from ever learning to speak. Deficiencies at this stage of development are extremely difficult to overcome later on. Children affected by this often experience problems with interpersonal communication and feel socially isolated.
How can you tell if your child might have hearing loss?
Here are some signs that your baby might have hearing loss:
- If your baby responds unusually slowly to noise or fails to react at all – when being spoken to from outside his or her field of vision, for example – or does not seem frightened by sudden loud noises such as a door slamming, this could be an early sign of hearing loss.
- If you notice that your baby is learning to speak at a much slower rate than other babies of the same age or stops uttering any sounds.
- Monotonous babbling or when your baby produces a more limited variety of sounds than babies of his or her age.
What can be done to help children with hearing loss?
If you that your child has a hearing impairment, consult with your pediatrician, an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist or a pediatric audiologist immediately. Hearing loss can be treated in various ways depending on the type and severity of the impairment:
- In many cases, hearing aids designed especially for children with a diagnosed hearing loss offer significant benefit. The correct hearing aid must be chosen individually for each child and will depend on various factors such as the degree of hearing loss and the needs of the child. Hearing aids are fitted individually by a pediatric audiologist.
- Wireless radio systems, known as personal FM systems, can also be used to supplement hearing aids. The system includes a microphone worn by the child’s parent or teacher and a receiver fitted onto the child’s hearing aid. This system enables the child to clearly understand speech even over further distances or in situations with loud background noise.
If a hearing aid does not offer sufficient help, a cochlear implant (CI) may be an effective choice. Children who are one year old and older with the auditory nerve intact may be candidates for this surgical implant device.
Tips for parents of children with hearing loss
- Parents should treat their children as normally as possible.
- Parents should speak as clearly as possible, maintain eye contact with their child when speaking, and teach their child to always look at the person talking to them. If the child does not understand everything they say, they should repeat what they said using different words.
- Even at a very young age, children should be encouraged to ask if there is anything they have not understood correctly.
- Parents should make sure that background noise is kept to a minimum when speaking to their child.
- If parents read picture books to young children, they should bring the pictures to life with sounds as well as reading the text provided (e.g., imitating animal noises). This will enable children to imitate sounds and learn from an early stage how to participate verbally in communal reading.
- If your child is attending school, make sure their teachers know about their hearing loss. Arrange for your child to sit up front in the classroom so they can hear the teacher clearly.
You can find more information about childhood hearing loss at Hear the World.