We understand that a child being diagnosed with hearing loss is a major source of stress and anxiety for parents. If your baby was recently diagnosed, know that their audiologist is with you every step of the way to answer your questions and address your concerns. While we recommend reaching out if you have any specific issues you want to discuss, we’ve compiled some overview information to help you get a better understanding of childhood hearing loss.
How Is Childhood Hearing Loss Measured?
Hearing loss, like sound, is measured in terms of both volume and frequency. Audiologists measure both the volume and frequency of sounds your child can hear.
The volume of sounds is measured in decibels (dB). Slight hearing loss means your child cannot hear sounds under 15-20 dB, which is about the volume of leaves rustling or people whispering. Even a slight hearing loss in a child should be addressed quickly in order to promote healthy speech and language development as well as high performance in one of Philadelphia’s schools.
They may also have mild hearing loss (trouble hearing sounds below 25-40 dB), moderate hearing loss (41-60 dB), severe hearing loss (61-80 dB) or profound hearing loss (81+ dB). Complete inability to hear everyday sounds is known as profound deafness.
The frequency of sound is measured in Hertz (Hz). Some children have trouble only with high-frequency sounds, which is the most common type of hearing loss, while others only have trouble with low frequencies. “Flat hearing loss” refers to trouble hearing across all frequencies.
Hearing ability may be the same or different in both ears. Hearing loss in one ear is called unilateral hearing loss, while loss in both is called bilateral hearing loss.
How Common Is Childhood Hearing Loss?
It’s not entirely clear how many children in the U.S. and across the world have hearing loss. One study from 1998 found that approximately 14.9% of children have hearing loss of at least the 16-dB threshold.
This number is likely much higher today, as the World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion young people are at risk of hearing loss thanks to recreational noise exposure.
For more information about childhood hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a pediatric audiologist, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.