May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!
Why should I get my child’s hearing tested annually?
In the first few years of life, hearing is a critical part of kids’ social, emotional, and cognitive development. Even a mild or partial hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech and language properly. A newborn hearing screening doesn’t prevent children from having conductive hearing losses. Children are more prone to ear infections than adults due to the eustachian tube placement. In children it is more horizontal, resulting in poor drainage of fluid. For this reason, children should have their hearing tested annually to resolve any middle ear disfunction and reduce the risk of speech and language delays due to conductive hearing loss.
What is the difference between a conductive hearing loss and a sensorineural?
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a tear of the eardrum or blockage of the eardrum which reduces the transmission of sound to the inner ear. Ear infections are the most common cause of this type of hearing loss in infants and young children due to the anatomy of the eustachian tube. This loss is usually mild, temporary, and treatable with medicine or surgery such as myringotomy tubes.
Sensorineural hearing loss can happen when the sensitive inner ear (cochlea) has damage or a structural problem. Cochlear hearing loss, the most common type, may involve a specific part of the cochlea such as the inner hair cells, outer hair cells, or both being damaged. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent. It can result from over-exposure to loud sounds, genetic, or have an unknown cause.
What are some tips for preventing hearing loss?
Refrain from using q-tips. Q-tips push wax back into the ear and can cause excessive buildup and can damage the delicate structures of the ear. Our ear naturally removes wax. Little hairs in the ear move the wax out of the ear. When the wax is visible, the best way to remove it is with a damp washcloth after a shower.
Ear protection is one of the more common ways people protect their ears. These large headphones are used with machinery such as leaf blowers, working around construction sites, or airplanes.
Next are musician earplugs. These earplugs are specifically designed to reduce the loudness while maintaining the quality of the sound. You can purchase these earplugs at your local music store or online.
Lastly music headphones. While air pods and headphones have a sleek design, they do not cancel out competing sounds, so when you are trying to list to music, what do you do? Turn up the volume and cause damage to the inner hair cells. Noise-canceling headphones are a better choice because you can listen to music or shows at a lower volume because you aren’t competing with other sounds. Remember that headphone use should be monitored as I said before too much exposure to sounds can damage those hair cells.
— Alexis C.