Here at Bay Area Audiology, we constantly try to dispel misconceptions about hearing loss. Among these, one of the most commonly held is that hearing loss is mostly a problem for the elderly. In fact, hearing loss is far more common among children—and even infants—than you might suppose. Today, we’ll dive into some facts and statistics about hearing loss in children that might surprise you.
Affects 15% of Children
Let’s start with one of the most basic—and most surprising—statistics about hearing loss in children. According to the CDC, hearing loss affects 14.9% of children aged 6-19. For our purposes, we’ll just round that up to 15%.
We can extrapolate this data to assume that, in a classroom of 25 children, upwards of 4 of them have significant hearing loss. If this doesn’t impress upon you just how common hearing loss in children is, we don’t know what will.
Most Often Genetic
When most people think of hearing loss, they think of it as resulting from excess noise, such as a loud workplace or overuse of headphones. While children are not immune to acquiring hearing loss in this way, a majority of children with impaired hearing have it because of genetics.
If either you or your partner carried a gene that causes hearing loss, it may manifest in your child—even if you don’t actively experience hearing loss yourself. You should also know that many children with genetic hearing loss also have a genetic ‘syndrome,’ such as Alport syndrome or Down syndrome.
Can Be Congenital, Too
Many people confuse the terms ‘genetic’ and ‘congenital.’ The difference is that, whereas something ‘genetic’ has to do with your genes, ‘congenital’ hearing loss is present at birth for another reason.
Hearing loss in children can result from maternal infections, such as herpes or rubella. Alcohol use or drug abuse during pregnancy can cause it, too. You should also know that it can result from birth injuries or a traumatic birth that cuts off oxygen to the brain.
Early Intervention Can Help
Among young adults who were identified as having hearing loss during childhood, at least 40% reported having significant limitations in their daily lives. Thankfully, there is a solution for hearing loss in children that can improve their outlook in life: early intervention.
The earlier your child is identified as having hearing loss, the sooner we can get them help. Depending on how advanced your child’s hearing loss is, they may benefit dramatically from special education or technology such as hearing aids. With these tools to help them, their ability to build social and language skills can rival their peers.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today
Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
You can always come into the office or contact us in advance to set up an appointment. We also provide updates on our social media websites. You can check out our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to keep up with Bay Area Audiology.
Don’t hesitate–we can help.