Parents urged to spot signs of hearing loss in children

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As children in Cambridgeshire embark on the summer school holidays, parents are encouraged to spot signs of hearing problems in their children.

If your child says “what?” or “sorry?” many, ignores you when you call their name, turns the TV on full blast, or has seemed disengaged or frustrated at school, so their hearing might actually be to blame.

Angli-EAR Hearing audiologists, based in Great Shelford, urge parents to watch out for one of the warning signs of hearing difficulties during the summer holidays.

Signs of hearing loss in children

Research has shown that speech and language problems (speaking unclearly and/or mispronouncing certain words) and poor academic performance could also be signs that your child needs their ears and hearing checked. .

Other indicators include difficulty with reading and phonetics, speaking loudly, and irritability due to ear discomfort. Much more so than in adults, hearing problems in young people can lead to delays in language and speech development, academic setbacks, stunted growth in social skills, and overall loss of confidence.

Hearing problems in young people can lead to delays in language and speech development, academic setbacks and loss of confidence.

Trevor Chapman, director and senior audiologist of angli-EAR Hearing, says: “Overall, hearing loss is quite common in children. It is estimated that 15 percent of children and adolescents have some degree of loss. Of these, 60% are preventable and treatable. In many cases, the hearing loss is mild, affecting only one ear. Severe hearing loss is much less common. Causes include genetics, injury, infection, medications, premature birth, or obstructions such as earwax or foreign bodies stuck in the ear.

“Hearing difficulties in children and adolescents can manifest as one of many behavioral conditions. So if a child is being evaluated for ADHD or a learning disability, it is also important to have a hearing test. . »

Hearing tests for children

What can you do if you are concerned about your child’s hearing?

Mr Chapman says: “The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme, carried out shortly after birth, is offered to all parents and is a quick and easy way to identify if your baby has permanent hearing loss. If you have any concerns about your child’s developmental milestones before the age of five, please contact your GP to discuss.

“For older children, the first step should be to book a hearing test with a pediatric audiologist if you want to avoid long NHS waiting lists for speech and language assessments and treatment for children who may have accumulated due to the isolating effects of Covid lockdowns.

Mr Chapman said prompt treatment of potential hearing loss was essential to prevent further damage to the ear and to resolve hearing-related speech and language difficulties and help children recover on track with their learning.

“A pediatric hearing screening with an audiologist who has experience with children’s hearing and speech and language delays will give parents and caregivers the opportunity to discuss any concerns about hearing and ear health. of their child,” Chapman said.

“A pediatric audiologist can quickly identify and treat common causes of hearing difficulties in children, such as earwax blockages, perform comprehensive diagnostic evaluations as needed, and provide treatment or therapy in a relaxed, comfortable, child-friendly environment. .”

You can find more information about hearing services for children at angliearhearing.co.uk/advice/paediatrics/, or to make an appointment with an angli-EAR pediatric audiologist, call 01223 661399.

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