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Listen Up, Parents!
7/1/2020 1:00:00 PM
Listen Up Parents

Back-to-school hearing screenings should be on every parent’s checklist as they prepare for their child’s new school year, according to Dr. Heidi Sorrells, doctor of audiology with Acadian Hearing Services. If hearing problems go undetected, the child loses out on valuable developmental milestones. 

Louisiana law mandates a newborn hearing screening before they leave the hospital. Infants who don’t pass the screening are referred to an audiologist for further testing. If parents neglect the follow up screening, hearing loss in children is often unknown until between the ages of two and four, or sometimes later. "As children grow, ensuring they can hear well is a vital part of their development,” said Dr. Sorrells. "Waiting until it’s discovered later on means valuable time has already been lost.”

Even mild hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to speak and understand language. Hearing loss is not a common birth defect, but does affect one out of every 1,000 babies in the United States. 

Dr. Sorrells said it’s important to have regular screenings throughout their childhood. According to the Center for Disease Control, hearing loss affects five per 1,000 children ages three to 17.  "Hearing loss can be caused by infections, trauma, and excessively high noise levels. Getting routine hearing evaluations is a good idea to ensure there are no damages to the child’s hearing” she explained. 

Parents and grandparents are usually the first to notice hearing loss in children. "Even if your baby passed the infant hearing screening, you should continue to have them screened and look for signs that indicate he or she is able to hear well.” 

Signs of hearing loss in children include:

Limited or poor speech

Frequent inattention when being spoken to

Difficulty learning 

Increased volume of electronic devices

Failure to respond during conversations

Easily frustrated when there is a lot of noise

During a hearing evaluation, audiologists use several types of screenings depending on the age and maturity level of the child. Behavioral tests are a common way to evaluate hearing. "In babies, I watch their eye movements in relation to sound. Toddlers will turn their heads toward sound and preschoolers will follow spoken directions for games and toys. School-aged children can follow audio instructions. If there are problems in any of these screening methods, we have more in-depth tools to get a more detailed diagnosis,” Dr. Sorrells explained. 

Hearing loss in children can be temporary or permanent. Sometimes, medical problems can cause temporary hearing loss, whether it’s an ear infection or even excessive earwax. If the hearing loss is permanent, many children benefit from hearing aids. They are individually fitted for comfort and durability. 

Research shows the earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential. "Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop communication, language, and social skills,” said Dr. Sorrells. If you suspect your child has hearing loss, trust your instincts and speak with their doctor.”

For more information or to schedule a hearing evaluation, call Acadian Hearing Services at (337) 436-3277, or visit their website www.acadianhearingservices.com. 

Posted by: Haley Armand Tarasiewicz | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting

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