Ear care

Deafness in infants and children. How to Detect Childhood Hearing Loss


The ear begins to develop in the womb and the entire auditory apparatus ends up forming from the third month of pregnancy. From that moment, it can be said that the baby can hear, although the sounds that come from the outside are muffled by the amniotic fluid and tissues of the mother. One of the first tests that children do at birth is hearing, to detect any problems.

The doctor Grace Aránguez, D.R.L. member of the Committee of experts of the program for the Early Detection of Hearing Loss in Newborns of the Community of Madrid, coordinator of said program and of the cochlear implant program of the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, tells us about the deafness in babies and children.

1. What are the causes of childhood deafness?

There are different factors that can lead to child hearing loss. 80 percent of childhood hearing loss occurs at birth or in the neonatal stage, so it is very important to always analyze all the risk factors that a child can have before birth.

Auditory risk factors are infections of the mother during pregnancy, problems during childbirth, family injuries that are inherited in successive generations, they can be infections at the time of delivery and pathology that can be concomitant with hearing loss.

2. What can cause hearing loss in children?

Hearing loss is very important because it entails the loss of language and speech and therefore a delay in learning and behavior and social skills that children have, we have to take into account that all the knowledge that It is not intuitive, it enters with the hearing, then the repercussion is very serious and very important at those levels.

3. What are the most common hearing problems in early childhood?

In early childhood, the most common hearing problems are secondary to the recurrent otitis that children have. It is necessary to distinguish between the external otitis in summer that does not cause a great hearing loss and the acute otitis media in winter that does cause a loss of hearing. And then there is a form that is serous otitis, the mucus inside the child's ear, that causes that hearing loss.

4. How can we suspect that a child is deaf?

As parents we can observe if our child is developing well like this when a child is born from birth and in the first 3 months of life they are surprised by noise and the child has what we call cochlear reflexes. He is capable of being surprised when waking up at a noise and that makes us denote that the child does not have a hearing problem.

When the child is 3 to 6 months old, he likes to play with things that sound, he tries to stop in the game trying to find the sound source. From the age of 8 months the child increasingly likes to play with sound. From there, in the year, the child begins to recognize his body scheme, he knows two or three words he says; Dad, Mom, I refer you well, you know who to call what.

From the year and a half, two years each time he has a richer vocabulary, he can make sentences of up to two words and from the third year, which is when we have integrated the language, the child is capable of having a vocabulary of 500 words and make us phrases of 4 or 5.

5. What to do if a hearing problem is suspected in our son?

What we have to do is go to our pediatrician or our ENT doctor to confirm it. Even so, we have to bear in mind that in the course of development, children may have fluctuating hearing losses over time due to otitis, other problems, and at this time we will have to be careful that they understand us well, the first year is the gesture, always in front of us, always talking to him. If we still suspect we have to confirm that you have a hearing problem in order to treat it.

6. What signs can tell teachers that children have hearing loss?

When a teacher in a school meets a child who does not pay attention, it is a child who waits for others to do an activity and then do it himself, that is, there is something that really seems that is not being understood is when they should put in I advise the parents to take them to the pediatrician and see them. That is, if children are not well motivated at school, if they are not hearing well, they are not participating, a child who does not participate or who is excessively restless may have a hearing deficit.

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Video: My baby has a hearing loss - what next? (December 2020).