Hearing Loss in Children

Hearing loss and child development

Hearing loss can have a profound impact on a child's development. Recognizing the signs of hearing loss in children is critical for their wellbeing.

It’s common to associate hearing loss with aging. However, hearing loss in children and teenagers is more prevalent than you’d think. It is estimated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that 14.9% of children in the US ages 6 to 19 experience some measure of hearing loss.

There are several reasons for the high incidence of hearing loss in children and teens. Some children are born with hearing loss, known as congenital hearing loss. Other common causes of hearing loss include ear infections, exposure to ototoxic medicines, certain infectious diseases, and noise exposure.  

Of the number of ways that a child or teen can develop hearing loss, the most prevalent is noise exposure. This noise exposure can come in various forms, like listening to overly loud music or being around loud machinery. Thankfully, noise exposure is simple to protect against, and that will go a long way in helping you protect your child or teen from hearing loss. 

Hearing loss prevention in children

Learning how to prevent hearing loss for your child or teenager is largely like how adults need to approach their own hearing health. Primarily, you will want to avoid loud noises, especially for prolonged periods of time. If you do need to be around loud noises, be sure to use hearing protection.  

One of the most frequent problems leading to hearing loss in children and teens is excessively loud headphone use. Experts recommend following the 60/60 rule to help combat this problem. Listen to only 60% of the maximum volume setting on a device for no more than 60 minutes per day. Also, if you can hear what your child or teen is listening to on their headphones when standing near them, it’s a good indicator that they need to turn down the volume. 

Hearing loss signs in children

How do you know if your child or teenager is experiencing hearing loss? Several signs may indicate that your child or teen is struggling with some degree of hearing loss. 

  • Muffled hearing or ringing in their ears
  • Increase in fatigue
  • Distracted behavior
  • Annoyance with their ears or head
  • Dislikes loud environments

Setting a good example

One of the best ways to help fight hearing loss in your child or teen is to set a positive example for them to follow. Let them know that you take your hearing health seriously and that they need to as well. While children and teens may think that hearing loss is something they don’t need to worry about until they are older, teach them that hearing loss prevention is a life-long process. 

Child on grandfather's shoulders with his father

Try our online hearing test

A great place to start is to take our online hearing test. The test is a fun and easy way for you and your child to check your hearing.

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