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Parents urged to spot the signs of hearing loss in children

As children across Cambridgeshire embark upon the school summer holidays, parents are being encouraged to spot the signs of hearing issues in their children.

If your child says “what?” or “pardon?” a lot, ignores you when you call their name, has the television up loudly, or has seemed unengaged or frustrated at school, then their hearing might actually be to blame.

Audiologists angli-EAR Hearing, based in Great Shelford, are urging parents to look out for any of the warning signs of hearing difficulties over the summer break.

Signs of hearing loss in children

Research has shown that speech and language problems (speaking unclearly and/or mispronouncing some words) and poor academic performance could also be signs that your child needs to get their ears and hearing checked.

Other indicators include struggling with reading and phonics, speaking loudly, and irritability due to ear discomfort. Much more so than adults, hearing problems in youngsters can lead to delays with language and speech development, academic setbacks, stunted social skills and a loss of overall confidence.

Hearing problems in youngsters can lead to delays with language and speech development, academic setbacks, and a loss of confidence.
Hearing problems in youngsters can lead to delays with language and speech development, academic setbacks, and a loss of confidence.

angli-EAR Hearing’s director and lead audiologist Trevor Chapman says: ”Overall, hearing loss is fairly common in children. It is estimated that 15 per cent of children and teens have some degree of loss. Of these, 60 per cent are preventable and treatable. In many cases, hearing loss is slight, only affecting one ear. Severe hearing loss is much less common. Causes include genetic factors, injury, infection, medication, premature birth or obstructions such as earwax or foreign objects stuck in the ear.

“Difficulties with hearing in children and teenagers can manifest as one of many behavioural conditions. So if a child is being assessed for ADHD or a learning disorder, it’s important to get a hearing check, too”

Childrens’ hearing tests

What can you do if you are concerned about your child’s hearing?

Mr Chapman says: “The NHS newborn hearing screening programme conducted soon after birth is offered to all parents and is a quick and easy way to identify if your baby has a permanent hearing loss. If you have any concerns about your child’s developmental milestones before the age of five years old then please get in touch with your GP to discuss.

“For older children, the first step should be to book a hearing test with a paediatric audiologist if you wish to avoid the long NHS waiting lists for childrens’ speech and language assessments and treatments that have reportedly built up due to the isolating effects of Covid lockdowns.”

Mr Chapman said treating potential hearing loss swiftly was essential in avoiding further damage to the ear and for resolving hearing-related speech and language difficulties and help children to get back on track with their learning.

“A paediatric hearing screening with an audiologist who has experience with children’s hearing and speech and language delays will give parents and carers opportunity to discuss any concerns about their child’s hearing and ear health”, says Mr Chapman.

“A paediatric audiologist can identify and swiftly treat the common causes of hearing difficulties in children, such as earwax blockages, run full diagnostic assessments as required, and provide treatments or therapies in a relaxed, comfortable and child-friendly environment.”

You can find more information on children’s hearing services at angliearhearing.co.uk/advice/paediatrics/, or to book an appointment with an angli-EAR hearing paediatric audiologist, call 01223 661399.

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