You asked

Hearing problems: will my child’s development be hampered?

If not diagnosed properly and early enough, hearing loss can affect speech and language development in a child. Depending on his age when the hearing loss is diagnosed and treated, and the severity of the hearing loss will tell just how much the hearing problem will hamper your child’s development.

Temporary hearing loss is the result of fluid that has accumulated inside the middle ear. This fluid can often become infected, which causes ear infection. This can cause hearing loss in your toddler, and if you want to experience what your toddler is experiencing, then put your head under water and have someone talk to you while your head is under water – you will hear garbled speech. Bearing in mind that your toddler will usually repeat a word as he hears it, and is why, if he has a hearing problem, he might mumble or have a problem pronouncing words.

Permanent hearing loss results from problems with the hearing mechanisms, the auditory nerve, or in some cases, both. Family genes, illness, a syndrome, a disease, or even medication, could cause permanent hearing loss. Children with permanent hearing loss often wear hearing aids, or, if this doesn’t help, they may benefit from a cochlear implant. This is an electronic device with electrodes that is inserted into the inner ear, as well as an external device that picks up and processes sounds.

If your child is diagnosed with significant hearing loss and cannot hear others talking to him, even with the use of hearing aids, then he may benefit from education programs where he will learn sign language, cued speech, or lip reading.

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