Taking Your Child to the Audiologist
Children with hearing loss may have difficulty learning, communicating, and fitting in with their peers. Audiologists can help determine the causes of their hearing loss and the appropriate treatment. While taking your child to an audiologist can be stressful, you may feel a little better knowing what to expect.
When to Bring Your Child to an Audiologist
For many parents, a child having difficulty communicating and behaving in classroom settings is one of the first indicators that they may need a hearing test. These issues may arise if children have difficulty hearing or understanding their teachers or peers. Other indicators include children speaking loudly at all times, struggling to follow directions, having delayed responses, or only responding when they're facing you.
Screenings for Newborns
Although some parents bring their children to an audiologist as a result of clear symptoms, it may be helpful to perform newborn hearing screenings. Depending on the hospital, newborns may be screened soon after birth or a few weeks later with a pediatric audiologist. At-risk newborns may undergo periodic hearing screenings throughout childhood, as well.
What to Expect at an Audiologist Appointment
Going to an audiologist appointment may be a bit nerve-wracking for both you and your child. The audiologist will explain the exams and tests beforehand to help reduce any stress. During the process, the audiologist will use an otoscope to look inside the ear, as well as test your child's eardrum vibration with a tool called a tympanometer. Depending on your child's age and comfort level, this may be a bit stressful, but won't cause any pain. Following these tests, an audiologist will likely perform hearing screenings or tests, which will vary depending on how old your child is. These tests may require your child to react to beeps, distinguish differences between tones, or listen to words and repeat them.
Treating Childhood Hearing Loss
If the audiologist determines that your child has a degree of hearing loss, they may require hearing aids. These small, subtle devices amplify sounds and can help children distinguish between speech and background noise. In other cases, surgery may be able to fix some or all of the problems causing hearing loss. Children with severe hearing loss may benefit from attending schools specially equipped to provide hearing loss services and speech services.
As hearing loss can become compounded over time, it's important to have your child screened and tested as soon as symptoms arise. If you're in the New Orleans area and you're concerned about your child's hearing, call the audiologists at High Level Speech & Hearing Center at 504.345.2984 to book a hearing screening today.