Audiology

A hearing “test” comprises a number of tests that measure how well you hear a variety of sounds such as tones and speech. Hearing tests are conducted in special sound booths or extremely quiet rooms. In general, hearing tests result in one of two outcomes: normal hearing or some degree of hearing loss, ranging from mild to severe/profound.

Studies have shown that if a hearing loss goes undiagnosed, it can worsen quicker than a hearing loss that is identified and treated earlier. Because some hearing losses appear gradually, you may be unaware of its onset, so do not delay having your hearing tested!

If you have difficulty hearing, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Some interesting facts:

• 1 in 7 people have a hearing problem
• Greater than 10% of the global population have a mild or greater hearing loss
• 466 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss.

Hearing Loss in Children

If you are concerned that your child may have a hearing problem, the most important thing is to get your child’s hearing tested to find out whether there is a hearing loss or not, and if so, the degree and type of hearing loss. Ear infection (otitis media) is the most common cause of hearing loss in young children.

The following are some signs to look out for:

• The child does not respond when called
• Delays or differences in speech and language development, including not producing all sounds correctly.
• The child may have attention or behavioral difficulties
• The child’s academic performance may be below par and the teacher may express concern regarding the child’s ‘listening’ in class.
• Inappropriate, delayed, or lack of response to soft and moderate-level sounds
• The child says “what?” or “huh?” frequently or often asks for repetition before the child understands
• The child may intently watch the faces of speakers
• The child may have difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments
• The child may sit close to the TV set when the volume is adequate for others;or increase the TV or radio volume to very loud levels
• The child may not respond to voices over the telephone or may switch ears continually when talking on the phone
• The child may be unable to locate the source of a sound accurately

Middle Ear Infections in Children

Children are also susceptible to middle ear infections. Ear infections are very common in young children and approximately 3 out of 4 children may have an ear infection by the time they are 3 years old. It would be advisable to see your doctor or an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who will be able to treat the infection. An audiologist will be able to assess a middle ear infection and determine whether or not a hearing loss is developing as a result of ear infections.

The following are some signs and symptoms of a middle ear infection:

• A feeling of intense pain in the ear
• Fluid draining from the middle ear that may be foul smelling
• Difficulty hearing
• A feeling of fullness in the ear
• Fever, irritability or nasal congestion
• Dizziness or change in balance
• Children may pull at their ears and cry more than usual

Hearing Screening For Newborns, Infants & Toddlers

A baby’s hearing can be tested from the very first day of life. It is essential that your baby’s hearing be screened after birth and at least by one month of age. The earlier the hearing loss is detected, the easier it is to treat. Hearing is critical to speech and language development, communication and learning. When a child has a hearing loss, early intervention is crucial. Even a few months can result in a major delay in the rapidly changing brain of a child. Left undetected, hearing impairments in infants can negatively impact speech and language acquisition, academic achievement, and social and emotional development. If detected, however, these negative impacts can be diminished and even eliminated through early intervention. If at any time, your child may not be reaching his/her developmental milestones, consult your pediatrician and have your child’s hearing tested by an audiologist.

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