Children’s Hearing Specialists Maryland and DC Trusts
A child experiencing a hearing loss has a limited capacity when it comes to the development of speech and language skills, which can lead to learning difficulties and poor socialization. Because many members of our team are also parents, we are well aware that nothing is more important than the healthy growth and development of our children.
If you suspect that your child could be experiencing a hearing loss, you might be wondering, “Is there a children’s hearing specialist near me?”
Audiology Associates offers pediatric audiological care from birth until adulthood for patients throughout Maryland and DC. Our pediatric service includes newborn hearing screenings, children’s hearing exams, hearing aids, and rehabilitative services.
Our team works hard to provide a friendly, welcoming, and relaxing environment where you and your child can feel at ease and confident that you’re receiving the best possible care.
“My 1 year old daughter required a routine evaluation and we were so pleased with our experience at this office.”
Signs Your Child Could Be Experiencing a Hearing Loss
To help determine whether or not your child could be experiencing a hearing loss, you should answer the following questions:
- Does your child esperience frequent colds and ear infections?
- Does your child struggle to hear people when not facing them?
- Does your child speak loudly, as if having trouble hearing himself/herself?
- Is it common for your child to turn up the volume on the TV or radio?
- Does your child frequently fail to respond when called?
- Do you have to repeat things several times for your child to understand you?
- Is childhood hearing loss common in your family history?
- Was your child born prematurely (sooner than 37 weeks)?
- Did your child have a low birth weight?
- Did your child experience a lack of oxygen at birth?
If you answered yes to any or several of these questions, consider calling us to schedule a hearing evaluation. Statistics show that the sooner we’re able to identify and begin intervention, the less risk of impaired speech and language, limited social emotional development, and reduced academic performance.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss in Children
The most common cause of childhood hearing loss, which involves inflammation of the middle ear, just behind the eardrum and often into the Eustachian tubes, is otitis media. The Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and less angled than they are in adults, which means they are easily blocked and facilitate fluid buildup that leads to “conductive” hearing loss.
Infectious otitis media typically includes an earache and fever. Treatment often involves the insertion of tubes to help with drainage and should be carried out as early as possible to prevent permanent damage to your child’s hearing.
Congenital Hearing Loss
Hearing develops at around 16 weeks in the womb, but some babies are born with underdeveloped hearing known as congenital hearing loss. Fifty percent or more of congenital hearing loss cases are inherited conditions.
Additional causes of congenital hearing loss can include prenatal infections, illnesses, and toxins consumed by the mother during pregnancy or might include an infection within the womb, premature birth, gestational diabetes, toxemia during pregnancy, and a lack of oxygen (anoxia).
Acquired Hearing Loss
A hearing impairment that shows up after birth is regarded as an acquired hearing loss. Acquired hearing loss can come from frequent ear infections, ototoxic drugs, meningitis, measles, encephalitis, chickenpox, influenza, mumps, head injuries, and frequent or ongoing exposure to loud noise.
Frequent or ongoing exposure to loud noise, known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), is among the primary causes of acquired hearing loss in children. Many cases that lead to NIHL come from the use of headphones and earbuds played at an excessive volume directly into your child’s ears while playing video games and an endless stream of media via smartphones, but it can also be the result of not having proper hearing protection during hobbies and activities that include excessive noise, such as riding motorcycles and snowmobiles or attending concerts and major sporting events.
Frequently Asked Questions about Children’s Hearing Loss
Q. Does My Child Need Regular Hearing Assessments?
A. Pediatricians begin well-check screenings at age 4 years and most school-based screenings occur every other year from kindergarten until the 8th grade.
Q. How Do I Protect My Child’s Hearing?
A. Provide ear protection for children who are engaged in activities that involve loud noise and monitor volume levels on personal listening devices that use earbuds or earphones.
Q. How Do I Address My Child’s Hearing Challenges With Caregivers And Teachers?
A. Be the child’s advocate within the school. Present proper documentation from your audiologist to caregivers and teachers in order to help coordinate caregiver planning.
Q. What Should I Do If I Suspect My Child Is Experiencing Hearing Or Communication Challenges?
A. Your first step is to make an appointment with one of our doctors of audiology. We have the expertise, experience, and equipment to accurately evaluate children’s hearing challenges by using both subjective or objective assessment technologies and techniques. The earlier we are able to address the issues, the more likely we’ll be able to help limit the impact your child’s hearing challenges will have on his/her development.
Preparing for Your Child’s Hearing Test
(Note – if the baby is over 6 months we want them awake for behavioral testing. We want infants to sleep for their newborn hearing screenings or ABRs)
Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAE)
DPOAEs are sounds generated by the cochlea’s outer hair cells in response to two tones that are close in frequency.
The presence of a DPOAE response is an indication that the cochlear amplifier is functioning properly.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
As your baby listens to the transmitted sounds, the ABR system will measure auditory neurosychrony. If the auditory neurosychrony is abnormal, this would be an indicator of hearing problems.
Treatment Solutions for Children’s Hearing Loss
Our pediatric audiology specialists will work with a team of providers to put together an early intervention plan. Intervention plans usually include input from your child’s pediatrician, private and educational audiologists, otolaryngologist, and/or speech/language pathologist. This team will provide the necessary guidance regarding various treatments and/or devices capable of providing the best outcomes to address the specific type and degree of hearing loss, including:
- Counseling for children with a hearing loss and their families
- Professionals who teach communication techniques to families and children with a hearing loss
- Fitting with a hearing device, such as a hearing aid for kids or cochlear implant
- Family support groups
- Networking and communication among families who have children with a hearing loss
Schedule a Children’s Hearing Assessment
When addressing hearing loss in children, you’re in a race against the clock because early detection makes it possible to achieve the best intervention outcomes. Our pediatric audiologists at Audiology Associates will provide an accurate diagnosis of your child’s hearing loss in order to develop a treatment plan able to limit the impact hearing loss has on your child’s development.
Contact us by completing and submitting the adjacent form, and a member of our team will return your call in order to assist you with scheduling a children’s hearing assessment.