Hearing loss in children is much more common than you think. There are about 170 million hearing impaired children worldwide who will need a life time of support. Hearing loss affects 1-3 infants per 1000 births and is the most common congenital sensory disorder. This number increases when we include conductive hearing losses such as those caused by middle ear fluid.
A good starting point is to understand why hearing is important and learn how the ear is designed to work. Sound is made up of tiny vibrations in the air. The process of hearing includes both the ear and the brain. The ear changes the sound vibrations into a signal that can be understood by the brain. The brain is the most important part of hearing since that is where sounds are converted into meaningful information.
The main purpose of a hearing test is to determine the degree, information, shape, and type of hearing loss. Characteristics of your child’s hearing loss can be determined using a number of different tests. The type of measure used depends upon the child’s age and abilities. Test results are used to develop a plan to maximize your child’s communication skills. Most babies with hearing loss benefit from hearing aids and other amplification devices. They also benefit from therapy and educational programs.
Hearing is not an all or nothing phenomenon. Even a mild hearing loss during the crucial years for language and speech development can cause a child to misperceive speech sounds and may result in a delay of normal communication development.
Your child's hearing is the means through which spoken communication develops and flourishes.
Phonak acknowledges the permission and assistance of the following organizations for their expertise in this portion of our website:
- The Better Hearing Institute
- The Infant Hearing Guide