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We want them to hear the sweet sound of their own giggle.

Your child's hearing loss.

Hearing loss is unique.

Each child is unique, so is a child’s hearing loss. To help you understand the possible hearing solutions for your child, you should know how the ear works and how hearing loss is diagnosed with degrees and types of hearing loss. Your child's hearing loss doesn't have to get in the way of the ability to learn and live like other children.

How the ear works.

We hear with our brains, not our ears.

Sound enters through our ears but is processed and understood by the brain. Children with hearing loss have the same listening potential as children born with normal hearing. If they are given access to sound via technology and sufficient spoken language exposure, their brains can learn to listen too.

How hearing works illustration

  1. Outer Ear: Sounds enter the ear canal and travel to the eardrum.
  2. Middle Ear: These sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, sending the bones in the middle ear into motion.
  3. Inner Ear: This motion is converted to electric impulses by tiny sensory hair cells inside the inner ear (cochlea).
  4. Hearing Nerve: These electric impulses are sent to the brain, where they are perceived by the listener as sound.

Understanding hearing milestones for children with normal hearing can be important for your child's hearing experience.
Request a free resource guide to learn about hearing and speech milestones and more.

Request Resource Guide

Understanding signs of hearing loss.

Knowing if your child has hearing loss can be difficult, especially in infancy. Here are some typical signs:

Infant or toddler:

  • No reaction to loud sounds
  • Does not seek out or detect where sound is coming from
  • Has stopped babbling and experimenting with making sounds
  • Still babbles but has not progressed to more understandable speech
  • No reaction to voices even when being held
  • Ear is missing or malformed at birth

School-aged child:

  • Does not follow or understand simple commands
  • Is easily frustrated or has communication breakdowns
  • Is falling behind with speech and communication skills
  • Cannot identify where sound is coming from
  • Depends heavily on lip-reading
  • Is exhausted from constant concentration just to understand speech

Degrees of hearing loss.

  • Mild -- A child hears some speech.
  • Moderate -- A child hears almost no speech.
  • Severe -- A child hears no speech at a normal level.
  • Profound -- A child hears no speech at any level.

Degrees of hearing loss

Types of hearing loss.

Approximately two to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States may be born with hearing loss in one or both ears.1 These fall into four categories:

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve pathway. This type of loss is permanent and can be caused by genetics, aging, disease, noise exposure or certain medications.

Single-Sided Deafness

Sensorineural hearing loss can occur in one or both ears. If the loss is in one ear, it is often referred to as unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness. This is when there is little or no hearing in one ear, but normal hearing in the other ear.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Sound cannot travel through the outer or middle ear because of malformation or other factors. This condition can be treatable depending on the cause.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Refers to a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means there may be damage in both the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear.

Lucy’s Story
References
  1. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. “Quick Statistics About Hearing.” Available from: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing
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