Today, newborns are given a hearing screening before they leave the hospital. If a child is deaf or diagnosed with hearing loss, parents can be guided by hospital staff and healthcare professionals to get the proper means of communication and resources for treatment.
In some cases, being diagnosed with hearing loss is a precursor to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Gallaudet Research Institute has estimated that 40 percent of children who have hearing loss also have an additional disability. The pervasiveness of ASD among children who are deaf or hard of hearing is 1 in 59.
What is autism?
ASD is defined as an intricate developmental disorder that becomes present during early childhood and influences a child’s ability to communicate. Children who have ASD do not grow out of this disorder, but similar to hearing loss, getting an early diagnosis can lead to early intervention. This will greatly improve a child’s quality of life.
Ways to determine whether your child has more than hearing loss
Here are some signs to look for:
Autism and its association with hearing loss
Autism impacts children differently, so it’s crucial to recognize how this disorder affects their capacity to hear and comprehend sounds. In some instances, a child may not have any hearing loss. In other cases, a child might have mild, moderate, or profound hearing loss that could be treated with hearing aids.
For most children, the nerves that transfer sound to the brain may not function properly. This is known as auditory processing disorder (APD). This makes it difficult for the child to comprehend what others are saying to them. Children with autism might have issues with other sensory experiences. This is known as multi-sensory processing disorder.
Autism and auditory processing disorders
Autism can affect how a child processes sound. As a result, a child with autism might struggle with learning language. Some things that may help them manage these issues include:
Autistic children could be sensitive to some sounds (hyperacusis), due to difficulties processing those sounds, but continue to have hearing loss in other sound ranges. For example, high-pitched noises can irritate a child, but that child isn’t able to hear low-pitched sounds clearly. This can make it difficult to determine whether the problem is caused by hearing loss, or not.
Find out which sounds irritate your child. Some kids can wear noise-cancelling earmuffs or can find a quiet area that they can go to. In other instances, some children are under-reactive. They do not appropriately respond to sounds in their environment.
Misdiagnosing hearing loss as autism
There have been some cases where a child’s hearing loss is undiagnosed and a problem with communication emerges. This child is typically suspected to have autism. Here’s a resource that can help you distinguish the differences.
Each child is affected by autism differently. There is still so much more research needed to understand this disorder. If you suspect that your child is experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids. We offer a free hearing test and consultation to discuss the best options for you and your child.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs and re-fittings. If you need a hearing aid repair, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Approximately 5% of the world’s population - that’s 466 million people - have a disabling form of hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children). It is being estimated that in 2050, more than 900 million people - that’s 1 in 10 people - will experience a disabling hearing loss.
A disabling hearing loss is defined as hearing loss that is over 40 decibels (dB) in the healthier hearing ear for adults and hearing loss that is over 30 dB in the healthier hearing ear in children. Most people with disabling hearing loss live in low or middle-income countries.
About one third of those aged 65 or older, have a disabling hearing loss. Most of these people live in South Asia, Asia Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa.
Hearing loss vs deafness
A person with hearing loss is someone who cannot hear as well as someone with normal hearing loss (that’s a hearing threshold of 25 dB or more in each ear). Hearing loss is categorized as mild, moderate, severe or profound. One or both ears can be affected, which can cause difficulty in hearing casual speech or loud sounds.
Someone who is ‘hard of hearing’ has hearing loss that varies between mild to severe. Those who are hard of hearing can communicate with others by verbally speaking and may benefit from using hearing aids, other assistive listening devices and captions. Those with more severe hearing loss may benefit from cochlear implants.
A person who is deaf has profound hearing loss. They have little or no hearing abilities. They use sign language or lip reading to communicate and understand people.
What causes hearing loss and deafness?
Hearing loss and deafness may be congenital (present at birth) or acquired.
Congenital causes could lead to hearing loss that is present at or acquired right after birth. Hearing loss can be caused by genetic factors that may or may not be hereditary, or by pregnancy/birth complications. These include:
Acquired causes can lead to hearing loss at any age. These include:
A common cause of hearing loss in children is suffering from a chronic form of otitis media.
What are the Impacts of hearing loss?
Hearing loss impacts the practical means of communication with others. Development of spoken language is delayed in children who have hearing loss that is not addressed and treated.
Hearing loss that goes unaddressed, or ear diseases like otitis media, will most likely have a negative effect on how children perform academically. These children tend to have higher rates of failure and the need for additional assistance in learning. It would be crucial to have access to the appropriate tools in order for them to have the best learning experience, but those means are not always accessible.
Social and emotional repercussions
Being excluded from interacting with others due to an inability to communicate can create feelings of isolation, loneliness, and frustration. This is especially true with older people who have hearing loss.
According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss that goes untreated can cost $750 billion in health sector costs, costs in educational support, loss in productivity, and societal costs.
In most developing countries, children who have hearing loss rarely receive any education. Adults who have hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed. Among the employed, there is a greater percentage of people with hearing loss who are in the lower levels of employment in comparison to the general workforce.
In order to lower the rate of unemployment for those with hearing loss, it’s important to create access to education and vocational rehabilitation services, particularly for employers.
There has been some suggestion that half of all cases of hearing loss can be prevented through public health measures.
About 60% of children under 15 years old, have hearing loss cases that were due to preventable causes. Here are most of the preventable causes of childhood hearing loss:
Easy ways to prevent hearing loss
Identify and manage hearing loss
It is very important to detect hearing loss as early as possible in order to intervene. This will help to reduce the impact of hearing loss during a child’s development and education. Early detection and intervention will improve language acquisition and overall education outcomes. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and their family members, should have the opportunity to learn sign language.
Hearing screenings that take place at schools are an effective way to detect ear diseases and hearing loss at an early age. Pure Sound Hearing Aids offers a free hearing test and consultation.
Those with hearing loss can benefit from wearing hearing aids. The global production of hearing aids only fulfills less than 10% of worldwide needs. There is an overall lack of availability of services for fitting and maintaining hearing aid devices, but our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound are readily available for your hearing aid needs.
Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Cases of early childhood hearing loss has proven that changes occur in how the brain processes sounds, but current research indicates that mild to moderate hearing loss may also result in these changes.
Studies Conducted on Children
Researchers at the University of Cambridge, in the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, conducted a study on the late auditory stimulated responses and mismatch responses to speech and non-speech noises for 46 children who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss (MMHL). Younger children (between 8 and 12 years old) who had hearing loss exhibited, to some extent, normal brain responses that were close to children with healthy hearing abilities. The brain responses of 12 to 16 year olds who have hearing loss were smaller than others.
Some of the younger children were tested again six years later. Researchers discovered that as the children who have hearing loss aged, the way their brain responded changed. The responses that existed when the children were younger were either no longer present or became smaller when the children grew older. There was no indication of worsening hearing loss in children during that time, but it was suggested that a functional reorganization was developing.
When children respond to sounds, their brains further develop. It is important to diagnose and treat these issues when they are in their early stages.
If you have a child, or grandchild, who shows signs of hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids. We offer a vast selection of hearing aid solutions at discount prices.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
Studies on Children with Hearing Loss
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hearing loss can influence the way a child develops language, but getting an early diagnosis and proper treatment for children can help them strengthen these communication skills.
A study was conducted on 448 children, between the ages of 8 to 39 months, who have hearing loss. These children’s vocabulary (spoken or sign language) abilities were compared to a child who was the same age. Children with hearing loss have been recommended to undergo the EHDI 1-3-6 Guidelines.
The EHDI 1-3-6 Guidelines are as followed:
Newborns who get a hearing screening for hearing loss within a month, have had successful treatment options. In 2014, 96 percent of American children were screened for hearing loss at no later than one month of age. Slightly over 40 percent of children who participated in the screening, did not meet the crucial steps of having their hearing loss diagnosed by 3 months and starting intervention by 6 months.
The CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities’ objective is to provide all children who have hearing loss with the same opportunities for success as their peers who have normal hearing. The latest studies indicated that children who suffer from hearing loss and get a hearing screening, examination, and intervention services manage to have much better development in vocabulary.
How to Treat Hearing Loss in Children
Treatment suggestions are as unique as each child and the type of hearing loss that they have. Here are some treatments and interventions to choose from:
There is further research that is needed to learn how children who have hearing loss can continue to advance their vocabulary as they get older. A child’s family, pediatric healthcare providers, and hearing specialists each play a part in a child’s hearing assessment journey by getting the child tested as soon as possible, and intervening with the right care.
If you, or a loved one, are in need of hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Pure Sound will only be open by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before stopping in at one of our offices.
A few years ago, Derrick Coleman was signed by the Seattle Seahawks, making him the first deaf person to join the NFL. Matt Hamill, who has been deaf since birth, is a wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter. He was named the NCAA Division III national champion three times and was a competitor in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Historically, many young athletes who are hard of hearing have been excluded from team sports. Some of the factors that led to this were due to group and social sensitivities, difficulty recognizing norms among the team members, and an absence of resources that limit the size of the staff. Disregarding these children and teens can harm their development as a person and an athlete. It could also lead them to become excluded at work and other social environments in the future.
It’s important to work with schools and communities to address this issue and use better communication to allow children with hearing loss to develop interpersonal and teamwork skills.
Raise awareness for Children with Hearing Loss
Remember that everyone has a different method of communication. If you believe that everyone communicates the same way, this is what leads to people being excluded. Encourage community leaders to be more empathetic, and learn more about:
Observe the child with hearing loss and do research. The best way to help this child is by asking them. There may be some uncomfortable questions that a coach or teammate needs to ask. Here is some advice on how to navigate through this:
Be Supportive of the Needs of Your Child
A coach’s resources tend to determine how many support staff are needed to help a player. You must let the team coach know what your child needs for them to give their best performance. Some solutions may include:
Advocate to have Multiple Means of Communication
Stress the importance of multi-channel communication and help to establish this. You can make visual aids, have a transcriber, or an interpreter. Other recommendations include:
Reaching out to coaches from your child’s school or community is an important first step in helping your child become more included. You may go to a meeting for the athletic department and speak to coaches. You could even become a coach for your child’s team, facilitate training with other coaches, and have an open form of communication with the athletic or recreation department.
These adjustments take time and energy. It’s important to build a network of other parents in your school district or community to work together.
If your child has hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a wide selection of hearing aid solutions for individuals of every age. Don’t let your child wait to participate in sports any longer, contact us today.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and hearing loss have some similar symptoms. It is important to determine the differences between the two so that you can get your child the appropriate care.
These characteristics, and other factors, can make it difficult for parents and professionals to conclude whether a child is showing signs of ASD or hearing loss. In many instances, children get misdiagnosed, or they get diagnosed later. A later diagnosis prevents the necessary intervention and care that is needed.
When ASD and Hearing Loss Occur at the Same Time
Many children who have ASD, also suffer from hearing loss at the same time. According to the Gallaudet Research Institute, one in 59 children who are deaf or hard of hearing are also found on the autism spectrum.
There are universal newborn hearing screenings and routine screenings provided by schools, which allows more chances of detecting hearing loss at its early stages. ASD has a high chance of going undiagnosed in some children because they have already been diagnosed with hearing loss. Signs of ASD are mistaken as being caused by hearing loss. In other instances, children who are diagnosed with ASD might develop hearing loss, and it could be ignored when healthcare professionals concentrate on treating ASD rather than hearing loss.
Things to expect
Pay attention and take notice of any signs that might suggest that your child has ASD, hearing loss, or symptoms of both. If you believe that your child is not reacting to sounds or properly acquiring speech and language, they may need a hearing test. Based on how mature and developed your child is, there are hearing care professionals who can determine how well they are hearing.
A hearing test that does not involve patient participation might not conclude how your child’s brain processes sound, but it’s a great place to begin so that you can eliminate hearing problems. Hearing loss can begin at any age, even if they passed their latest hearing screening. It’s best to get another hearing test with updated results.
If the results show that your child does not have a hearing problem, your child’s healthcare provider can determine whether other ailments are contributing to ASD.
If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, here are other indications that they should be evaluated for ASD:
Advocate for your child
Getting an accurate diagnosis for your child’s delay in their development is an intricate process. You will need to consult multiple professionals. Inform yourself, be involved in your child’s development, and have a positive outlook to help them.
If your child needs hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid brands at discount prices.
Children's Hearing and Vision Affects Learning and Development
It’s common for children to have problems with hearing and vision. Most children who suffer from moderate, temporary problems may not receive a formal diagnosis. More and more studies indicate that mild loss in hearing or vision may significantly play a role in a child’s learning and development.
There was a recent study conducted by pediatric audiologists examined the pervasiveness and impact coexisting, common, mild hearing and visual problems on the academic achievement of children who went to mainstream schools. A sample was taken from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which is a broad population-based birth group in England. Children were identified as having hearing and visual difficulties by the age of 7. Data on their achievements in standardized nationwide exams at age 10 to evaluate outcomes in education was used.
The study found that coexisting hearing and vision complications during childhood have a long-lasting negative impact on a child’s educational outcomes. This is higher than the singular effects if hearing or visual problems individually. This study highlights the importance of early detection and early intervention.
Issues with Hearing
A prevalent cause of hearing issues in children is persistent otitis media with effusion (OME, “glue ear”). This is when fluid becomes trapped inside the ear. The problem with this condition is that it cannot be seen from the surface and there aren’t any evident symptoms. When fluid builds up in the middle ear, the ossicles - three tiny ear bones - cannot vibrate, thus it cannot transfer sounds from the outer ear to the inner ear. Hearing loss, the ability to read, and cognition are affected as a result.
In a study on 2,909 children, 261 (9%) children who suffered from mild to moderate conductive hearing loss and/or OME were identified. There was a weak link between mild hearing difficulties for those 7 years of age, and poorer academic achievement in national standardized tests at ages 10 and 16.
Issues with Vision
A decrease in a child’s sense of vision has been linked to poor literacy, but the influence of more prevalent visual problems on education is not clearly defined. Two of the most common types of visual issues that children face are amblyopia and strabismus. They each occur in relation to other conditions, which may affect a child’s development and academic achievements, for example low birthweight and prematurity.
In a study of 189 (6.5%) children who had mild visual problems, they were found to have no negative relationship between mild visual problems and academic achievement between the ages of 10 or 16.
It’s been widely recognized that the combination of auditory and visual data establishes most cognitive processes. This incorporates speech perception, and is fundamental to developing language and communication skills. Having problems with hearing or vision can negatively affect a child’s literacy progress and make them susceptible to an accumulation of difficulties with their senses.
From the study, 14 (0.5%) of the children who had hearing and visual impairments, there was a clear negative link between coexisting hearing and visual problems related to academic achievement for children who were 10-years-old. It was more than the burden of hearing problems itself. There was also a weak link between coexisting hearing and visual problems associated with academic achievement for 16-year-olds.
Clinical and Research Conclusions
Children who are known to have hearing and visual struggles need to be screened on a regular basis to check for other sensory impairments. This will allow for early detection and proper treatment.
This is the first study to examine the impact of coexisting common and mild hearing and visual difficulties associated with academic achievement. The study is limited due to missing statistics, and incorporate underrepresented children from ethnic minorities and low socio-economic backgrounds. Additional research is needed to explain more details about the negative link between coexisting common hearing and visual problems and educational outcomes.
If you have a child, or grandchild, who has difficulty with hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.