Hearing is an integral sense to individuals that permits us to socialise, express, learn, and enjoy life to the fullest. Regrettably, hearing loss affects people of all ages, including children. Childhood hearing loss is a public health issue that can have severe and long-lasting impacts on a child's development and well-being.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently assessed over 34 million children worldwide and found that hearing loss is impacted primarily by those from low-to-middle-income countries. In Malaysia, the majority of hearing loss in children varies by age group- 3.5% of teens aged 13-17 years old, 6.6% of kids aged 7-12 years old, and 6.6% of toddlers and small children aged 3-6 years old suffering from hearing loss. These statistics are alarming because individuals can avoid most hearing loss.
Children with hearing impairment may encounter speech and language development delays, social isolation, poor educational performance, and behavioural issues. This can cause difficulty in communication with family members, friends and peers - resulting in anxiety, depression and frustration.
The consequences of childhood hearing loss can be more pronounced if it remains undetected or unmanaged early on. Early intervention and therapy for hearing issues are critical for a child's language, social and academic development. With appropriate intervention and support, children with hearing impairment can acquire language abilities, social skills and academic performance at the same level as their peers.
Causes of hearing loss in childrenMost causes of hearing loss in children may be prevented or treated. Common reasons for childhood hearing loss include:
- Genetic factors
- Maternal infections during pregnancy
- Birth complications
- Children's exposure to loud noise or extreme use of headphones and headsets on high volume
Parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals may take several steps to prevent and reduce the risk of childhood hearing loss. They should ensure proper prenatal care, avoid exposure to loud noises, and vaccinate children against measles and meningitis. Screening for hearing loss and providing appropriate intervention is vital, especially during the child's developmental years.
If you think your child is experiencing hearing loss, it is crucial to seek professional help. The Listening Lab Malaysia offers a range of services for children with hearing loss, including hearing tests, Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR), Paediatric Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA), hearing aid fittings, and cochlear implants for severe to profound hearing loss. You can book an appointment online or call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our hearing care professionals.Remember: Don't wait to take action if you suspect your child may be struggling with their hearing. Contact the Listening Lab Malaysia today to schedule a hearing assessment today.