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Hearing Loss in Children

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found 1 in 5 America teenagers suffer from some type/degree of hearing loss. According to this study, in most cases the hearing loss is a slight high frequency hearing loss affecting at least one ear. About 1 in 20 has a “mild or worsening” hearing loss, which can make it a struggle to understand conversation, particularly in the presence of background noise.

Hearing is crucial in the social, emotional and cognitive development of children. A mild hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to learn and understand language. Since language is an imitation of what we hear, full development of language requires adequate hearing.

Hearing loss is a common birth defect, affecting 1 to 3 out of every 1,000 births. There are numerous causes for hearing loss in children, and in about half the cases, no cause is found.

In 1993, the National Institutes of Health Consensus Panel concluded that “all infants should be screened for hearing impairments prior to discharge….Infants that fail should have a comprehensive hearing evaluation no later than 6 months of age.” Today, there are 42 out of 50 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that have mandated Newborn Infant Hearing Screening programs.

Hearing Aids


Hearing milestones: * most newborns infants startle or jump to sudden loud noises

  • By 3 months, the baby usually recognizes a parent’s voice
  • By 6 months, the baby can usually turn his/her eyes or head toward a sound
  • By 12 months, the baby can imitate some sounds and produce a few words, such as mama

As the baby advances into toddlerhood, signs of hearing loss may include:

  • Limited or poor speech
  • Frequent inattentiveness
  • Difficulty learning
  • Often turns the volume up on the TV
  • Fails to respond to conversational speech or answers inappropriately

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