Does your child have behavioural issues at school? Is your child being assessed for a learning disorder? Is your child seeing a Speech-Language Pathologist for articulation problems (speech difficulties)?
Countless school age children are misdiagnosed each year due to an undiagnosed hearing loss. Many parents believe they would know if their child could not hear well; unfortunately this is rarely the case. Speech sounds fall across a wide range of frequencies. A hearing loss across the entire speech frequency range may make sounds or speech appear softer to the child. However, if hearing loss is limited to the high frequency range a child will hear that a word or question is being asked but may not hear the word or entire sentence clearly.
It is important that you know the signs of a hearing loss in a child. Please read the common signs of hearing loss below. While these signs don’t necessarily mean that your child has a hearing problem, they could be indicators of one. If your child exhibits any of these signs it would be a good idea to book him or her a hearing assessment to rule out a hearing loss.
Signs of Hearing Loss in Children
- Inappropriate responses to questions.
- Watches other pupils to imitate what they are doing.
- Speaks differently from other children his or her age.
- Becomes tired, especially at the end of the day.
- Problems academically.
- Complains of earaches, ear pain or head noises.
- Does not reply when you call him or her.
- Turns up the volume of the TV excessively high.
- Poor self-concept.
- Apparent laziness.
Hearing is screened at birth today in hospitals across Ontario but hearing loss can occur at any age. Many toddler and preschoolers often experience middle ear infections. Children with Downs Syndrome are especially prone to middle ear infections. Sometimes these children will present with a fever or ear pain and sometimes there are no obvious signs at all. Therefore, good hearing healthcare practice states that every child should be screened for hearing loss every two years from the time they are born until the age 4, when they start Junior Kindergarten, and then every 5 years going forward.
A hearing assessment does not require a doctor’s referral. However, it is important to know who is assessing your child’s hearing. Make sure that your child is being assessed by an Audiologist as they are the hearing expert. Audiologists are regulated professionals with a graduate degree or clinical doctorate in hearing sciences. Not all Audiologists have experience testing children or have the equipment to test them, so be sure to ask before booking an appointment. You can find a list of certified Audiologist that are close to you on the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists website. If you reside in or around the city of Vaughan we would be happy to book your child’s hearing assessment with our Doctor of Audiology at our clinic – Salus Hearing Centre. To book an appointment please call us at 905-303-HEAR (4327).