There are several types of hearing disorders. Some children
with hearing disorders can hear a little, while others hear nothing
at all. Some children with hearing disorders may be able to hear sounds
well, but they will not be able to understand what they are hearing.
takes place when sound waves enter the ear. Sound waves are created
by any type of noise. The waves move through special bones in the ear
and reach certain nerves. These nerves, then, send signals to the brain.
So anything that keeps the sound waves from moving through the ear or
the nerve signals from reaching the brain causes a hearing loss.
• Ear infections – The ear gets infected
because fluid collects in it. This fluid prevents the sound waves from
moving through the ear. Hearing loss that is caused by ear infections
is usually temporary. However, when these infections occur over and
over again, they could cause permanent hearing loss. If they happen
often in young children, the children may not learn to talk well.
If you notice that a child does these things very often, encourage the parents to talk to a doctor or other professional. Or your center might be able to offer speech and hearing screening. It might be good to test the child for a hearing disorder. Look at a hearing checklist to help you decide if the child has a hearing problem.
Some children who do the things in the list above have a hearing loss. But some of these things may also happen for other reasons. For example, some children do not pay attention when someone talks to them. They react slowly when someone speaks or when the telephone rings. They do not respond when their name is called. But they do not have a hearing loss. One reason for such behavior could be a disorder such as Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD). A second reason could be discipline issues. For example, a child may ignore an adult who is talking to him because the adult does not always give him consistent messages or directions. So the child may be confused by what the adult means and simply ignores the adult. A child may also purposely ignore an adult because they are in a power struggle with each other. In other cases, a child may ignore an adult because the child is paying attention to something else.
You can do some simple things to check if a child has a hearing disorder. You could call the child’s name when she is not looking at you. Does she respond? If you think she is ignoring you on purpose, you could try something else. You could make a sound or noise that is related to something the child likes. This might be making animal noises or using a toy that makes a special noise. Try some louder and softer noises. Try high and low noises. If the child seems to hear when you do that, she probably does not have a hearing loss. If the child does not respond, encourage the parents to take her to a specialist for a complete checkup.
Visit this website for more information on hearing and hearing disorders.
Visit this website for tips on ways to protect children’s ears.
Some children develop hearing problems because the adults around them do not know what kind of noises may harm a child's ears. Parents and childcare providers can prevent most hearing problems in children that are caused by loud noises. Here are a few simple tips to protect children’s hearing:
• Keep children
away from loud noises. If a noise is very loud or if children are too
close to a loud noise, try to stop the
For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at firstname.lastname@example.org
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