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What you should know about hearing care for children

Updated: 2022-03-10


Many parents will ask whether it is necessary to pay attention to a child's hearing if they have already been examined and there were no problems. The answer is yes. That is because not all hearing impairments will manifest immediately after a baby is born. Hearing care in the later stages is also very important, which parents should pay attention to.

Why is hearing care necessary?

1. The main reason for deafness is genetic, and 60-70 percent of hereditary deafness is recessive. Studies show that out of every 100 people, up to five or six carry the common deafness gene. These carriers generally do not manifest symptoms of deafness at birth, but are susceptible to medicine or other factors.

2. The other 40 percent of hereditary deafness is related to environmental factors, such as ototoxic drugs, perinatal infections, neonatal jaundice, ischemic and hypoxic diseases, noise, etc. These factors may lead to late-onset hearing loss, while neonatal hearing screening cannot detect late-onset and drug-induced hearing impairment, and there is also a chance of false negatives. Infants and young children often fail to receive timely diagnosis and treatment for hearing impairment because they are often unaware of it or can't communicate the issue.

Through hearing care, hearing loss can be detected at the early stages and hearing and speech intervention and rehabilitation can be carried out in a timely manner to protect and promote the development of children's hearing and speech, so as to reduce related disabilities and improve children's health. Different degrees of hearing loss have different effects on children, and the only relevant factor that affects final language development is how early hearing impairment is detected and dealt with, rather than the severity of hearing impairment.

Steps for hearing care

Step 1

After birth: Receive necessary newborn hearing tests

These are non-invasive preliminary examinations of hearing after 48 hours of birth. It is the most effective way to detect hearing loss in the early stages. If problems are detected, a re-evaluation is required 42 days after birth.

After returning home, parents need to pay attention to their child's reactions to sound. At this stage, the baby will be "shocked" when hearing a loud noise like a door closing or speaking.

Step 2

Three months old: If issues were detected in the early evaluations, the diagnosis needs to be improved

A hearing diagnosis is a comprehensive audiological and medical evaluation that all infants who are found to have potential hearing issues should receive within three months of birth. Infants diagnosed with permanent hearing loss should receive treatment as soon as possible within six months. The purpose is to maximize hearing and speech communication skills and good cognitive development for hearing-impaired infants and young children.

At this stage, the baby will actively look for sound sources, like toys that make noise, and be able to distinguish the voices of parents and familiar people. They will giggle when happy.

Step 3

Six months-three years old: Receive regular hearing care (focusing on hearing care for those aged 6, 12, 24, 36 months)

When the baby sees a delay in the development of language skills, the elderly always say "the noble person's speech is late". Don't heed such misconceptions, as one should not miss the best age for auditory and verbal intervention.

If you notice any of the following abnormalities in your child, please seek medical attention immediately.

Indicators of hearing problems in children aged 0-3 years in auditory observation method

AgeAuditory behavioral response
6 monthsUnable to find sound sources
12 monthsUnresponsive to nearby calls and unable to pronounce words
24 monthsUnable to follow instructions by adults and unable to imitate adult speech (do not look at mouth shape) or speak in a way that is incomprehensible to others
36 monthsSlurred speech or unable to speak; always ask others to repeat themselves; often use gestures to express themselves

Step 4

Three-six years old: Receive regular hearing care and be alert to hearing loss caused by trauma, foreign bodies, otitis media and other ear diseases

When children exhibit the following behaviors, parents should take note. You should take your children to see a professional otolaryngologist to determine whether there is hearing loss and find possible causes and treat them in time.

1. When communicating with the child, parents often need to repeat themselves;

2. The child's response to speech is obviously slow;

3. Often speak loudly even in a quiet environment;

4. Begin to turn up the volume on TVs, mobile phones, etc.;

5. School teachers say that the child is not focused in class and is unwilling to communicate and play with other students.

Otitis media is one of the main causes of hearing impairment at this stage. Children mainly exhibit symptoms such as earache, ear fullness, ear discharge, and hearing loss. The causes include infection, eustachian tube obstruction, sinusitis, etc. Active symptomatic treatment is required.

The Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat (EENT) Department of the Chongqing Health Center for Women and Children (CQHCWC)

Address: Area B, 2nd Floor, Outpatient Clinic, Ranjiaba Branch of the CQHCWC

Service hours: 8 am-noon, 2-5:30 pm from Monday to Saturday; 8 am-noon on Sunday

Tel: 023-60354347