Did you know that 5 out of every 1,000 children suffer from hearing loss? While it’s true that the majority of people who suffer from this condition are adults, there are an estimated 34 million children around the world that do as well.
Hearing loss can strike at any age but the causes between adults and children are often a lot different.
Hearing loss in adults
Many people presume that hearing loss in adults is due to aging, but it can also be caused by exposure to loud noises, ear infections, tumours, abnormal bone growth or by damage from chemicals or drugs.
It’s not always easy to first realise that you have problems with your hearing, as it often gets worse over time.
If you find that you are having to turn the TV or radio up louder than usual or are asking people to repeat themselves while having a conversation, that it could be a sign that you are suffering from hearing loss.
Hearing loss in children
A lot of the causes of hearing loss in children are congenital, and stem from birth complications, head injuries, alcohol and drug abuse, having a recessive gene or due to their mother smoking during the pregnancy. Hearing loss can also come about from exposure to loud noise, infectious diseases and chronic ear infections.
Unlike with adults, it is a little harder to realise that a child or baby is suffering from hearing loss. Some of the signs that you may notice include:
- Delayed speech development
- Pain in their ears
- Not responding to loud noises
- Turning the TV or music up louder than normal
- Having trouble understanding what people are saying around them
How to prevent hearing loss
Since the causes of hearing loss mostly differ between children and adults, the measures you can take to prevent it happening to you or your family members will be different as well.
- Giving up smoking and avoiding being around other smokers
- Using hearing protection when around loud noises
- Clearing earwax from your ear canal
- Avoiding loud noises
- Keeping up to date with immunisations
Both adults and children should have regular hearing tests so that your doctor can pick up on any early signs of hearing loss.
What happens if you or your child develops hearing loss?
Hearing loss can be managed or treated in a number of ways, depending on how it was caused and how advanced it is. Your audiologist may suggest that you wear a hearing aid or cochlear implant, both of which sit in or behind your ear to assist with hearing. Some mild and moderate hearing disorders can be treated with medication or surgery, and speech therapy is often encouraged for people that are having trouble communicating from their loss of hearing.
Have you had your hearing checked lately?
There are solutions for people who suffer from hearing loss and want to be able to hear the world around them. It’s important to visit your audiologist regularly and to keep up to date with modern hearing aid technologies.