Children will experience one or some of the most common hearing problems, the most common being otitis media, a condition of the middle ear. Discussed below are some causes of common hearing problems. For more information or if you have any concerns, see you child’s doctor or audiologist.

Common problems

Wax (cerumen)
Wax in the ear canal can act as an ear plug, blocking sound waves from striking the eardrum. Wax softening drops can help. Softened wax may spontaneously leave the canal, be irrigated out or be removed by a physician, audiologist or other trained personnel. Cotton swabs should never be used by parents in an attempt to remove wax. The cotton swab may actually push the wax deeper into the canal or even puncture the eardrum.

Foreign Objects
Parents should guard against children putting small objects in their ears such as beads and food items.

Sound can be impeded or an eardrum ruptured. The ear canal may become inflamed if the surface lining is damaged by the object.

Swimmer’s Ear
Another common condition affecting the outer ear canal is called “swimmer’s ear.” This external ear canal infection may be painful and cause the ear canal to swell shut, resulting in temporary hearing loss. Usually this is a bacterial infection which develops in an ear canal that remains wet after bathing or swimming.

Otitis Media

This is the most common cause of conductive hearing loss in children. Otitis media (glue ear) is a general term used to describe a variety of conditions affecting the middle ear. More than 85% of all children will have at least one ear infection in childhood. In fact, ear infections are second only to well-baby checks as the reason for office visits to a physician.

There are various forms and causes of Otitis Media. The single most frequent factor is infected adenoids which harbor bacteria or obstruct the Eustachian tube that connects the middle ear with the back of the nose (nasopharynx). For more information please download the right sided file.

Permanent sensorineural hearing loss

If there is a problem in the inner ear, it causes asensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss in young children canoccur with certain infections before birth, from a lack of oxygen during birth,or from genetic causes. Sensorineural hearing loss usually cannot be cured withmedicine or surgery, but hearing aids can help in many/most cases. There are now a wide array ofoptions available.

If you are concerned that your child might have one of the above problems, you should seek the advice of a medical practitioner immediately.

Acknowledgements

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