Introduction to Hearing Loss

Is my child’s hearing loss permanent?
Is there surgery to correct it?
Can hearing loss improve over time?

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are different types of hearing loss. 

  • Some loss may be temporary & some are permanent.
  • Conductive hearing loss due to wax, or ear infections or middle ear fluid may be temporary and treated through medication or surgery.
  • Conductive hearing loss caused by atresia of the ear canal or abnormal middle ear anatomy is considered permanent. If surgery is an option, that typically isn’t possible until about 5 years of age or more.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss is considered permanent. It can sometimes be progressive and get worse. It can be in one ear or both and the severity can vary. The more severe it is, the greater the impact on communication development. Hearing aids are often recommended.
  • Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural. Depending on the cause, the loss may improve but is still at least partially permanent.
  • Auditory Neuropathy involves normal cochlear function and abnormal auditory nerve function. The severity can vary. Responses can improve over time. Treatment may vary from FM systems to cochlear implants.

Why did this happen to my child?

The etiology or cause of a hearing loss can be genetic or due to anatomical abnormalities. Hearing loss can also be caused by infections or medications taken during pregnancy or medical treatments and/or medications needed when infants are born very premature or with health complications.  Sometimes the cause of a hearing loss cannot be determined.

What is an audiogram?

How does an audiogram relate to my child’s hearing loss?

Click here to download your own audiogram Audiogram.pdf

What do I need to do now that I know my child has hearing loss?

Work closely with your child’s audiologist if your child needs hearing device(s).  
Strive to have your child wear the hearing device(s) during all waking hours.
Contact Early Childhood Intervention (E.C.I.), if your child is under the age of 3, at 915-534-4324, to initiate intervention services.  Your child must be enrolled in ECI to also qualify for specialized services from deaf education teachers.

Talk to other parents for information and support.  If you don’t know of any  parents, contact En Voz Alta, at 521-7229.

Will my child be able to communicate?

Children with hearing loss can and do learn to communicate.  There are many different types of communication options for children with hearing loss.  Parents should choose the communication option they feel best fits the needs of their child and family.  It is critical that your child learns language and develops communication skills as early as possible.  Please refer to the following website for information on communication options:  www.ncbegin.org

If I choose the aural-oral approach…Will my child ever talk?

A child with hearing loss can learn to talk.   Several factors are critical for the development of spoken language.   The child with hearing loss must consistently wear his/her hearing aids and/or cochlear implants, throughout the day, so he/she can hear speech.   Children learn speech by listening to it.  But, just listening to speech is often not enough.  Most children require training or intervention by professionals who specialize in teaching spoken language to children with hearing loss.  Starting the intervention as soon as possible will make a significant difference in the child’s development.  Providing a language enriched environment is also important.  Talk, talk, talk!  Parents must take an active role in teaching the child with hearing loss to speak. 

If I choose the sign language option…

How do I communicate with my child?  How does my child learn? You use your voice, eyes, body and your hands.  Sign and talk at the same time.  Make sure your child is wearing his/her hearing aids and/or cochlear implants so he/she can hear you; face your child when you communicate, so he/she can see you sign.  Most children require training or intervention by professionals who specialize in teaching sign and spoken language to children with hearing loss.  Starting the intervention as soon as possible will make a significant difference in the child’s development.  Providing a language enriched environment is also important.  Sign and talk all day!  Parents must take an active role in teaching the child with hearing loss to communicate.

More resources

Please visit the following websites to find out more about hearing loss in children:
www.asha.org
www.dshs.state.tx.us