Hearing Loss and Children
Today, we are constantly connected. For better or worse, this is the world that we live in. Many simply adapted to the digital changes, while others were raised within this time. But by being constantly connected to devices through ear buds and Bluetooth headphones, to name a few, our generation faces something much more alarming: the risk of hearing loss. Currently, there are an estimated 3 million children in the United States that live with hearing loss. Even more alarming, 1.3 million of them are under the age of 3 years old. As a parent, however, there are a number of steps that can be taken in order to help protect your child’s hearing health.
For Young Children
From early childhood, parents should keep a close eye on their children’s hearing. Although the state standard usually varies, there are precautions that are in place to ensure that children are screened for hearing problems. Most recommend that children receive a hearing screening right after birth. If not, it should be within the first month afterwards. Usually, this will consist of a few quick tests, which check for ear damage. Even after the first test, be sure that your child is screened for hearing loss at each doctor’s visit for safe measure, especially since undiagnosed hearing loss can result in a hindrance of speech development later down the line. However, on the other hand, early identification allows children to develop communication skills at the same rate as their peers.
When it comes to teenagers, everything is just a little bit trickier. Hearing loss is no exception. But that doesn’t mean that it should be ignored, especially with an estimated 1 in 6 teenagers experiencing hearing loss symptoms to some degree. This is easily attributed to the increase in the usage of devices like MP3 players in recent years. Help your adolescent understand the dangers of hearing loss and how their risky behaviors like listening to extremely loud music could be playing a vital role in harming their hearing. Encourage your teen to turn the volume down to an acceptable limit. Moreover you could convey the importance of breaks from loud noises, music and otherwise, thereby giving their ears the chance to recover.
Regardless of age, hearing loss is difficult to deal with any way you look at it. That’s why learning to address the signs sooner, rather than later, could prove to be beneficial for both children and teenagers. Believe us when we say, they’ll thank you later.