In this article we will try to explain all hearing problems in toddlers, signs, symptoms, how to identify and how can you help with it.
Types of hearing problems in toddlers:
There are three main types of hearing loss, temporary (conductive), permanent (sensorineural), or mixed. The most common cause of hearing loss in toddlers occurs from ear infections or otitis media. An ear infection is inflammation in the middle ear. In some cases, fluid builds up behind the eardrum, which can be very painful. Ear infections can lead to conductive hearing loss that are usually caused by build up of fluid behind the eardrum.
Your child may have an ear infection if they are:
tugging or pulling at the ear(s)
have trouble sleeping
fluid draining from the ear
trouble hearing or responding to their name being called or soft sounds
clumsiness or problems with balance
fussiness or crying
Causes of permanent hearing loss in toddlers:
Some genetic disorders such as trisomy 13
Loud noises i.e firecrackers, gunshots, or music
Certain diseases such as meningitis or mumps.
Signs of hearing problems in toddlers:
needs things to be repeated multiple times
fails to respond to conversational level speech
fails to respond to their name
needs higher TV volume
Hearing problems in toddlers can sometimes be easy to overlook because the signs and symptoms may seem unrelated. If a child seems like they are ignoring instructions and talking when they should not, it may seem like a behavioral issue. However, these are also signs of an undiagnosed hearing loss!
Hearing loss can occur at any age. Here is a list of developmental milestones of a child with normal hearing:
0 to 3 months: Child startles or moves when exposed to loud sounds
4 to 6 months: Child will turn their head to parents voice or loud noises
7 to 12 months: Child will turn head to any sound and will make sounds like: /mama/, /dada/, /baba/
13 to 15 months: The child points and connects knows who is ‘mama’
16 to 18 months: Child uses single words
19 to 24 months: Child can point to and name body parts correctly. Can use two word sentences i.e ‘no bed’ ‘want milk’. Half of the child’s words are understood by strangers.
25 to 36 months: Child can say three to five word sentences. Three quarters of child’s words are understood by strangers.
37 to 48 months: Almost all of the child’s words are understood by strangers
How you can help: Come to Audiology Island and allow us to test your child’s hearing! With our team of highly specialized pediatric audiologists, New York and Staten Island families have access to hearing tests and evaluations for infants and children of all ages and developmental levels.
Treatment for hearing loss in toddlers:
Treatment varies for the type and severity of the hearing loss. Some treatments can include:
Antibiotics for middle ear infections
Hearing aids to help amplify sounds
Removal of foreign object or ear wax
Consideration of a cochlear implant for severe or profound hearing loss
If you have any questions regarding your child’s hearing don’t hesitate to call Audiology Island. Remember to have your child’s hearing tested once a year!
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008.