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A Closer Look at Kid’s Hearing: May 2, 2014

No one is more in-tune with your child than you. Many times it’s parents who actually pick up the signals that something doesn’t sound right.

“Absolutely,” says Lee Memorial Health System pediatrician, Dr. Pierre Loredo. “A lot of things are intuitive when you think ‘gosh I think something is wrong with my child’s hearing. You call to them they say ‘what’, look at me a little confused.”

In the first few years of life, hearing is a critical part of a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Even a mild hearing loss can affect their ability to speak and understand language. Babies are given their first screening at the hospital. Some require on-going attention.

“There are a lot of red flags. An intra-utero infection meaning when the baby was in the womb had an infection, family history of hearing loss, certain medicines they are on, these things can put us at risk for hearing loss and so those are the ones you really want to make sure to screen,” Dr. Loredo says.

Not all hearing loss is the result of a birth defect. Sometimes it is acquired, the result of infection, trauma or exposure to extreme noise. There are ‘milestones’ for measuring a baby’s hearing, like a startle response to loud sounds and reacting to their parent’s voice. Regardless of age, there are ways to test a child’s hearing.

“We have different tests, we have auditory brain stem response. We also check your hearing during your regular health supervision visits and they also check at most schools.”

It pays for parents to keep their eyes and ears open too. The earlier a problem is detected, the better the treatment options.