Hi my name is John O’Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com! I am very passionate about hearing loss issues and it is important to spread awareness, especially because children’s hearing loss can often go unnoticed.
Living With Childhood Hearing Loss
The number of hearing-impaired people has doubled during the past three decades. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), more than 28 million people over three years of age have some type of hearing disorder. Many of them are children.
Children who have hearing loss often find it difficult to learn language, vocabulary, grammar and other verbal communication. Their social skills are often lacking, and they may also have self-esteem issues. Fortunately, intervention services and family support can help them overcome their challenges to reach for their dreams.
Understanding Hearing Loss
Hearing loss in children has medical, congenital and acquired causes. Ear infections cause some of the impairment. Otitis media, a middle ear infection, is the most-diagnosed disease in babies and children. Linked to fluid buildup, this type of hearing loss is usually temporary.
Genetic factors account for more than half of all congenital hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is present at birth. Infections or illness in the mother during pregnancy or childbirth can also cause congenital hearing loss. Certain syndromes, such as Down and Usher, may have deafness as a characteristic.
Acquired hearing loss occurs after birth. It often results from injury or disease. Head injuries, infections, medications and noise exposure are usually common causes.
Detecting Hearing Loss
Hearing tests can aid in early detection of hearing loss. Common symptoms of childhood hearing loss include speech delays, ear infections, infectious diseases, genetic syndromes, learning disabilities and a family history of deafness. Parents who recognize these symptoms in their children should immediately seek a pediatric hearing evaluation.
Treating Hearing Loss
According to the Mayo Clinic, hearing loss has several treatments. Removing earwax blockage is a common treatment, as is treating ear infections and other medical conditions. Hearing aids and other assistive devices can make sounds stronger and easier to hear. Cochlear implants are surgical treatments for severe hearing loss.
Surviving the Stigmas
Hearing loss is a challenge for children in more ways than one. Many children have to contend with the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding deafness. Young children are often the targets of bullies who harass them and make fun of them for their hearing aids or hearing loss in general.
Children with hearing loss or deafness are no different then any children who do not have these issues. They too have hopes, dreams and goals like everyone else. Many influential people have experienced great success in life despite their hearing loss, or perhaps because of it. Thomas Edison, the famous American inventor, lost most of his hearing around the age of twelve. He viewed deafness as a gift that allowed him to concentrate on his research and experiments. Marlee Matlin, an American actress, lost most of her hearing before the age of two. Her hearing loss was probably the result of a genetic deformity in her ears. With support from her family, Matlin was able to explore life as a child. She never let her hearing loss interfere with her acting goals. She is the only deaf actress to win an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Hearing loss in life can sometimes be an obstacle that children need to try and overcome, but it should never be a reason for them not to pursue their goals and dreams. With a little love and support from family and friends along with the right mindset and guidance, anything is possible, even overcoming hearing loss!