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Loss of hearing can occur during childhood, adolescents, or even at birth. According to experts at the Academy of Audiology, nearly 12% of younger kids from age 6 through the teen years have hearing loss resulting from noise. Of all birth defects, hearing loss presents itself more often than any other congenital defect in the United States. Nearly 12,000 children are born each year with some type of hearing loss says the American Speech and Language Association.

Not all hearing loss is permanent. – There are types of hearing loss that are preventable, including noise related damage to the hearing. Protect your kids’ ears with ear plugs and/or earmuffs and turn down the volume on the stereo, television, game systems and MP3 player to avoid noise related hearing loss in your children and teens.

Hearing loss may delay your child’s ability to learn normal language skills. – Language development in the brain of children is at its highest level between age 0 and 3. Hearing is vital to normal speech development because this process begins in young children with the ability to listen. Language skills are vital in order for kids to go on to learn how to read effectively.

Kids with hearing impairment can benefit greatly from early diagnosis and treatment. – Early detection is vital. When hearing loss is caught early, children’s language skills develop normally. Children whose hearing loss was identified before 6 months of age showed dramatic gains in language skill development compared to those diagnosed after 6 months of age. This difference was due to early treatment.

Some hearing loss in kids can be reversible.
– Not all hearing loss is the result of a long term permanent defect. Minor conditions such as a build up of earwax or an infection could cause reversible hearing loss. Early intervention such as minor surgery or medical treatment could reverse temporary hearing loss in some instances. Chronic (long term) ear infections could cause permanent hearing loss so be sure you seek professional help early on if ear infections are suspected.

Parents are often times the first to identify early signs of hearing loss in young children.
– Many times parents are the first to recognize signs of hearing loss in infants and small children. Response to your voice, noticing noises that toys make (such as rattles), and making babbling sounds are all signs to observe for to ensure infants have normal hearing. Around 9 months of age kids should be repeating back sounds and should also understand some simple phrases and commands. To learn more about recommended screenings and benchmarks to evaluate normal hearing in young kids, consult a hearing specialist or audiologist.