Seeing your child grow, develop, and learn about the world around them is one of the greatest joys of parenthood. But that joy comes along with endless worry too, especially when it comes to their health. If you’re reading this blog, then you may be concerned about your child’s hearing. Thankfully, there is a lot of support and help you can access so that you can give your child the best possible start in life when it comes to their hearing health.
We’ll start from the very beginning with those first weeks with your newborn and take you right through preschool and grade school.
The early days
The arrival of your newborn comes with a whirlwind of emotions so it can be easy to forget about getting their hearing checked. But as one to three babies out of every 1000 are born with a hearing loss, it is important to get your baby tested.
The New York State Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program is set up to ensure that every child born with a permanent hearing loss is diagnosed before the age of three months and gets access to treatment by the age of six months.
If your baby doesn’t pass the initial test, it doesn’t definitively mean they have a hearing loss. Debris in the ear canal can get in the way and affect the results of the test. So you’ll need to make sure you get your baby re-tested before they are three months old.
The toddler years
As your child grows, it is important to look out for signs of hearing loss as it can develop at any age. Head trauma, exposure to loud noises, and frequent ear infections can all cause damage to their hearing.
In toddlers, signs of a hearing loss could be very little or no speech, a failure to respond to your voice, and often appearing inattentive. If you spot any of these signs, it is important to get their hearing evaluated with an Audiologist as soon as possible.
Keeping a vigilant eye out for a hearing loss is an ongoing job as a parent. You may notice signs such as your child’s speech being difficult to understand and not developing normally or that you have to turn the volume on the TV louder so they can hear their favorite shows. Even if you don’t see any obvious signs of a hearing loss, it is still important to get your child’s hearing tested. During the preschool years, hearing tests are usually carried out at ages four and five.
Hearing tests should continue to be a part of your child’s life as they enter grade school. Hearing tests are usually carried out at ages six, eight, and ten. However, if you are ever worried about your child’s hearing health, you can book a hearing test for them with an Audiologist at any age.
With all this talk of hearing tests, you might be curious about what a hearing test for your child will actually involve. This will vary depending on their age.
What happens during a hearing test?
For young children, an Audiologist may carry out behavioral tests, which will involve watching how your child responds to sounds like speech at set volumes, intensities, and pure tones (sounds with set pitches). In babies and toddlers, a response may be eye movement or turning of the head.
For preschoolers, an Audiologist may set up the hearing test as a game, asking them to move a game piece whenever they hear a sound. For older children, they may be asked to raise their hand whenever they hear a sound or respond to verbal instructions.
If a child has difficulties with any of these tests, an Audiologist has special equipment that can be used to test how well their ears, auditory nerve, and brain are working. These tests aren’t invasive or painful.
What should you do next?
If you are concerned about your child’s hearing, however old they are, then get in touch with Dr. Hadassah Kupfer, your Audiologist in Brooklyn. As a mother of two young children, she understands the worries of parenthood and has a wonderful way with children, so both you and your child will be put at ease at your child’s hearing evaluation. Call Dr. Kupfer now at 917-791-1510 to make sure your child can enjoy healthy hearing.
Dr. Hadassah Kupfer is a highly qualified and community-focused Audiologist, serving the Mill Basin community. Her extremely friendly and relationship-focused approach combines the expertise and resources of a high-end city practice with the comfort and warmth of a community physician. Both of Hadassah’s parents are doctors, along with many other relatives who also practice a range of medical professions.