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Causes and diagnosis of childhood deafness

Causes and diagnosis of childhood deafness


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Childhood deafness can seriously compromise a child's emotional, cognitive and social development. For this reason, it is important that its diagnosis is made as soon as possible so that the work of stimulating communication between the baby, its parents and its environment begins as soon as possible and has a rapid effect on its development.

An early diagnosis of hearing loss in babies allows starting treatment before 6 months, thus avoiding language disorders and favoring the neuropsychological development of the child.

There are many reasons why a child can be born deaf. Apart from hereditary factors, during pregnancy some complications or maternal behaviors can lead to a baby with hearing problems. If the expectant mother takes ototoxic medications or contracts diseases such as rubella, toxoplasmosis or flu, the baby may become deaf.

In childbirth, fetal distress or prematurity are risk factors. Difficult and prolonged labor can also predispose the child to deafness. And after birth, pathologies such as otitis, mumps, measles or meningitis can damage the ear, not forgetting the adverse effects of some medications.

In Spain, the Commission for the Early Detection of Hearing Loss recommends that all newborn children be tested for hearing screening. Detection of hearing loss in the newborn is a simple test that does not cause any discomfort. It should be done while the baby is calm or sleeping. The usual thing is to do the test between 12 and 48 hours of life, before leaving the maternity ward. In any case, it must be done in the first month of life.

In the past, childhood deafness used to be easily detected only from 2 or 3 years of age, when the symptoms were clear and there were obvious signs that the child had some hearing difficulty. However, currently infant deafness can be diagnosed within a few days of the baby's life. That would be possible through a test called acoustic otoemissions.

It consists of assessing the baby's response to certain auditory stimuli, by means of a device that emits a sound that causes a kind of echo to be produced that is analyzed and assessed to give a positive or negative response to the test. It is advisable to keep the baby calm for the test.

An early diagnosis of hearing loss allows treatment to begin before 6 months, thus avoiding language alterations and favoring the child's neuropsychological development. The early diagnosis of hearing is made through an audiometric examination, especially when there are suspicions in situations such as: high-risk birth, cases of hereditary deafness, marriage between people of the same family (consanguinity), pregnancy accompanied by rubella, and cases of meningitis after birth.

An audiologist is the specialist who will take care of the diagnosis, and present a solution to the problem. Child deafness or hearing loss is currently a problem that can be avoided in most cases thanks to advances in technology and medicine. The key is to make a quick diagnosis. An early diagnosis of childhood deafness is essential for a good rehabilitation.

You can read more articles similar to Causes and diagnosis of childhood deafness, in the On-Site Ear Care category.


Video: Hearing Loss in Children: Strategies for Better Communication. Boston Childrens Hospital (May 2022).