For every 1,000 births in America, two or three newborns have detectable levels of hearing impairment. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that 90% of children who have total hearing loss are born to parents with normal hearing. These are just some of the many statistics that support ongoing pediatric hearing evaluations in Mesa, Arizona.
Why Early Detection Is Important
Like most forms of health conditions, the sooner you detect the underlying issue, the better your chances of helping your family and your child adjust. A supportive environment limits the possibility of hearing impairment hindering your child’s progression through life.
Hearing impairment is not always permanent and does not always become worse. When we identify the cause early on, we might help reverse the cause or prevent the condition from worsening. While there is no guarantee of success, early detection offers the best opportunities.
Preventing Developmental Delays
Children with hearing impairments often struggle to follow conversations or to understand their teachers. The result is a higher likelihood of falling behind in school and become socially ostracized. These are some more specific effects identified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:
- Difficulty using and understanding suffixes that show tense or pluralization
- Difficulty understanding abstract words and concepts, such as jealousy or equality
- Difficulty in reading and mathematics
- Difficulty understanding and using function words, such as “an” or “the”
- Strong tendency to advance no further than fourth-grade education when hearing loss is severe and left unchecked
- Tendency to remove quiet sounds from speech, such as “f” and “th.”
Creating Support Systems
Children with hearing impairments adjust better when it becomes a family or community exercise. The sooner you detect the impairment, the more time you have to make arrangements. This could include the following:
- Securing better health insurance coverage
- Applying for grants from non-profits
- Finding speech therapy services
- Enrolling the child in counseling services
- Enrolling the child in a school or extra-curricular activities attended by other children with hearing impairments
- Learning sign language as a family
What To Expect at a Hearing Evaluation
Children are often brimming with questions before their hearing evaluations. Some are excited, while others could feel anxious. Consequently, having some information to put them at ease or appease their curiosity could provide peace of mind for both of you.
We begin by reviewing your child’s medical history with you. Even though most hearing impairment cases do not run in the family, conditions that lead to hearing impairment might. Ruling these out helps us create a more effective plan.
We might ask your child to wear earphones and listen to different tones played at varying volumes. We are determining what your child hears and when makes it easier for us to estimate the severity of the hearing loss.
As part of the listening tests, children are often asked to repeat what they hear in the earphones. This part of the exercise could take place in a quiet or noisy environment. It helps to account for instances where hearing loss is more pronounced when background noise is present.
Sometimes, we can provide recommendations right away. In more complex cases, we may need some more time to discuss our findings with other specialists. Recommendations we might make include cochlear implants, speech therapy, or hearing aids.
We encourage family members and children to ask as many questions as possible. The more answers you have, the more prepared you will feel for whatever lies ahead. Know that we are with you every step of the way.
How To Prepare for Pediatric Hearing Evaluations in Mesa, Arizona
Families should spend some time explaining to children what the evaluations are for and why they might need them. It’s essential to take a positive approach when giving explanations, so the child enters our office with an open mind or positive expectations. For example, it might be better to say, “We are going to see if you really have hearing loss, and then the doctor can help us fix it,” as opposed to saying, “We need to figure out why you aren’t hearing properly.”
Another important process of preparing for the pediatric hearing evaluation is to complete our Happy Ears patient forms. Completing these prior to arrival can save you time and helps ensure everything goes smoothly. We look forward to seeing you.