have probably experienced the helpless feelings of trying to comfort a baby or child crying in pain from an ear infection. For some children, this may happen only once or twice. Others seem to have one ear infection after another. Every how to get a hearing aid
understands how difficult this is for both parent and child.
The Problem Could be Otitis Media
Otitis Media is the most common cause of hearing loss in a young child. By the age of three, 75% of children will have at least one episode of this ear condition. It is caused by inflammation behind the eardrum (the middle ear). Usually there will be a fluid buildup, which may or may not be infected.
Otitis Media will vary widely from one child to the next. The symptoms, severity of the infection and the frequency and length of the condition can range from mild to almost disabling. One child may experience a brief period of mild hearing problems and a thin, clear buildup of fluid with no infection, pain or fever. Another child may be repeatedly ill with an ear infection causing thick, gluey fluid that could result in permanent hearing loss.
Why is Otitis Media Such a Common Problem in Children?
The smaller the child, the smaller the eustachian tube, the passage between the back of the child's throat and the middle ear. Because of its small size, the eustachian tube is vulnerable to blockage from infections or large adenoids. As the eustachian tube becomes larger as the child grows, children normally experience fewer problems.
How Does Otitis Media Cause a Loss of Hearing?
In the middle ear, there are three tiny bones that pass sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. The presence of fluid prevents these vibrations from being transmitted efficiently, so the "sound energy" is lost. Usually, hearing loss is temporary and mild to moderate, resulting in muffled sounds, not total hearing loss. Imagine diving underwater; as soon as the ears are submerged, sounds lessen or disappear.
Chronic Otitis Media can damage the eardrum, the tiny bones of the ear or the hearing nerve, causing permanent hearing loss.
Potential Speech and Language Problems
Children learn to speak by listening to others during the first critical years. Obviously, a child who cannot hear properly is at a substantial disadvantage. Even a mild case of Otitis Media can seriously affect a child's speech development. If the child has no pain or fever, it may take quite a while before parents suspect a problem.
Lions Hearing Centre offers Hearing Tests in children as young as six months. An Audiologist Perth will provide an auditory processing assessment for children over six. A child's hearing is critically important to their future development, so it's important for parents to be proactive. Don't allow a potential hearing loss to remain undetected and untreated.