Hearing management

Updated 25 September 2018

How to tell if your child needs a hearing device

If your child has a hearing loss issue you need to address the problem as soon as possible.

Have you noticed a change in your child’s listening abilities? Are they turning the television up louder than usual or saying “What?” a little too loudly and a little too often? If this is the case, your child may need to go for a hearing evaluation.

Effective hearing is crucial for the development of speech and language.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), speech involves the articulation of words, the navigation between our breath and the pitch of our voice as well as the rhythm of our speech. Language, on the other hand, refers to the words we use and how we use them.

Detecting hearing issues in a child’s speech and language may be more difficult in older children whose speech and language capabilities are already developed.

Here are some of the things you can look out for:

  • Your child does not respond when you are speaking to/calling them.
  • When they are watching TV, the volume is too loud.
  • They appear to be reading your lips instead of simply listening to what you’re saying.
  • Your child’s teacher may be complaining that your child does not follow instructions or appear to be listening in class.
  • Your child is speaking louder than before.

Loss of hearing may occur for several reasons. Some of these include:

Glue ear: Glue ear or otitis media is a common problem in young children and occurs when the middle ear fills with liquid, causing hearing loss. The glue may clear up after a couple of weeks but if the problem goes untreated for a prolonged period it may cause permanent damage.

Measles: Although rare, the measles virus can cause encephalitis. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, which can lead to nerve damage and permanent hearing loss.

Eardrum perforation: A ruptured eardrum can be caused by many things. Causes may include exposure to loud sounds; a change in pressure; damage caused by a foreign object; or an injury to the head. While an eardrum may heal over time, it can be fixed with surgery or an eardrum patch. If not corrected, it may cause hearing loss.

If you suspect hearing loss in your child, consult a specialist as soon as possible.

Image credit: iStock


Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Minette Lister graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Pathology (Audiology) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville in 2015. Thereafter, she completed her compulsory year of community service at Phoenix Assessment and Therapy Centre in Durban. In 2017, Minette started working for Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. She is passionate about working with children and adults to diagnose and manage hearing loss using state of the art technology. Minette offers hearing screening programmes for newborn and high-risk babies, as well as school-aged children, in order to decrease the incidence of late or unidentified hearing loss.

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