Should my child receive more than one hearing screening?
Experts estimate that up to three of every 1,000 infants will be born with a hearing loss. The prevalence increases to six in 1,000 by the time children enter kindergarten. Considering all children up to age 21, 10 out of 1,000 (1/100) experience hearing loss. South Carolina has approximately 1.2 million children, so one can estimate that up to 12,000 children in SC have a permanent hearing loss.
Hearing loss may not be as obvious as other disabilities, and there are many myths about hearing loss.
Myths and Tips
- Myth: Hearing screening happens at birth so we don’t need to worry about it again.
- False. While most babies are screened at birth, most hearing loss develops at later points in life. Only 2-3 out of every 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss but 1 out of 100 school-aged children have a hearing loss - and many might not know it!
- Tip: It is critical to keep an eye out for language development and hearing health at all stages.
- Myth: A mild hearing loss is no big deal.
- False. Especially for children, a mild loss could mean missing a WHOLE LOT OF LANGUAGE! A child needs to hear MILLIONS of words to be a strong reader, and even a mild hearing loss can prevent that from happening.
- Myth: A child has hearing aids or a cochlear implant, so their hearing is normal now.
- False. Hearing loss results from a listening system that is damaged. Hearing aids and cochlear implants help get sound to the brain despite the damaged system, but they do not “fix” the problem. Hearing aids are just that, aids. Lots of support and help is still needed for children with hearing aids and implants to gain language and to make up for the time they didn’t have the access to sound.
- Myth: My pediatrician says everything is fine so I am not worried, even though my child still isn’t talking.
- False. A mild hearing loss can be very hard to detect, and children under 5 are not routinely screened for hearing loss. Sometimes “late” talking can be a sign of hearing loss, but not always. If you think your child is not able to hear some sounds and you are worried, request further testing be done to rule out hearing loss.
- Myth: Earbuds are safe to use for my child and me.
- False. Any degree of continued exposure to sound can cause damage to the listening system and result in hearing loss. The general rule of thumb is 80% volume for a maximum of 90 minutes. Longer than that and you could be causing damage. If other people can hear your music through your earbuds (or headphones) it is probably too loud. Regardless, give your ears a rest after 60-90 minutes.
Visit abcquality.org to learn more about child care and development, search for a child care provider and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
By ABC Quality Team at 11 Dec 2018, 11:00 AM