For any child, hearing and speech are essential tools for learning, playing and developing social and cognitive skills. The first 3 years of their life are crucial for developing all these fundamental skills.
Children learn to communicate and interact with the world by imitating sounds they hear. They start hearing these sounds even before birth, while they are still in the womb. A child with a hearing loss that is left undetected and/or untreated can miss a lot of the speech and language around them. This can result in delayed speech and/or language development, social problems and other difficulties. A child born with a hearing loss can, however, reach his/her language potential on par with normal development, as long as they receive appropriate early intervention.
For almost all children, initiation of this early intervention begins with a hearing assessment. An audiologist is the only professional uniquely qualified to test children's hearing and give advice on further management, if required. Existing technology permits audiologists to do accurate screening and assessments of hearing in children within a few hours after birth. It is therefore not necessary to wait until your child is a toddler before checking his/her hearing.
If you are concerned about your child's ability to hear, contact an audiologist as soon as possible.
This article appeared in the 5th Anniversary (October 2012) edition of Jewish Life magazine.
Your child's hearing ability should be fully developed by the 20th week of your pregnancy!
Common signs of hearing loss in children are:
We provide comprehensive hearing assessments for children and adults.
Hearing impairment is the most frequent sensory deficit in humans.
According to literature, it affects more than 250 million people around the world. It is estimated that two thirds of the people who have hearing loss, live in developing countries like South Africa. However, less than 50% of the hearing impaired population does something to improve and protect their hearing, even though in a lot of cases, hearing loss could have been prevented.
A hearing loss can result if there's a problem at any point along the hearing pathway â€“ in the outer, middle or inner ears, or even in the complex auditory nerve pathway to the brain. Hearing loss can be either:
and is usually classified as either conductive or sensorineural in nature.
Conductive hearing loss is typically related to pathology in the outer or middle ear system. If we identify that your hearing loss is conductive in nature, we might refer you to one of the ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) Specialists that are located close to you. Conductive hearing loss can often be managed by medication and/or surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss is typically related to the inner ear (cochlea) and auditory nerve. The inner ear is often the culprit in permanent hearing loss. The inner ear is made up of rows of hair cells which provide clarity and sharpness to sounds, particularly in background noise. They are also designed to make soft sounds audible and loud sounds comfortable, as they are your personal amplification system. The onset of hearing loss is often a gradual process, so people are sometimes not aware that their hearing is deteriorating. Hearing loss often affects the high pitch sounds first, so loudness is often normal, but clarity is impaired.
Depending on the cause, type and degree of your hearing loss, as well as on your personal hearing requirements, our audiologists aim to provide you with the most suitable solution for your hearing loss.
We believe in a no obligation demo trial* of hearing instruments to find the perfect solution for you.
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