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Diagnosing Hearing Loss

Symptoms of hearing problem in Children who presented at MicroCare ENT Hospital, Hyderabad

Depending upon the type and severity, any of the following symptoms may be seen in a child with hearing loss

Developmental milestones of auditory and speech behaviour are absent / delayed.
Some speech sounds may not be pronounced correctly, particularly /sa/, /sha/, /fa
Inconsistent response to sound.
Understands speech better when facing the speaker.
Not attentive in class.
Asks for repetitions.
Keeps the television on at a louder volume.
Uses inappropriate loudness of voice.
Complains of pain / discharge / ringing sound in the ear
Degrees of Hearing Loss and their Academic Effects for a Child

Normal hearing (0-25 dB): At this level, hearing is within normal limits.

Mild hearing loss (26-40 dB): it may cause inattention, difficulty suppressing background noise, and increased listening efforts. Patients with this degree of loss may not hear soft speech. Children may be fatigued after listening for long periods.

Moderate hearing loss (41-55 dB): it may affect language development and articulation, interaction with peers, and self-esteem. Patients with this degree of loss have trouble hearing conversational speech.

Moderate-severe hearing loss (56-70 dB): it may cause difficulty with speech and decreased speech intelligibility. Patients with this degree of loss do not hear most conversational-level speech.

Severe hearing loss (71-90 dB): Severe hearing loss may affect voice quality.

Profound hearing loss (>90 dB): With profound hearing loss (deafness), speech and language deteriorate.

Symptoms of Hearing loss in Adults who presented at MicroCare ENT Hospital, Hyderabad:

Many symptoms are common to children and adults. In addition, an adult with hearing loss may have:

Difficulty understanding speech in group settings / noisy situations

Difficulty understanding telephonic speech

Difficulty understanding some speakers

Checklist in Children (Normal Reaction to Sounds and Making of Sounds)

This checklist gives parents about what to look for as your baby grows to check if he/she can hear or not.

Shortly after birth:

Startles by a sudden loud noise such as a hand clap or a door slamming. Blinks or opens eyes widely to such sounds or stops sucking or starts to cry.

1 month:

Starts to notice sudden prolonged sounds like the noise of a vacuum cleaner and may turn towards the noise. Pauses and listens to the noises when they begin.

4 months:

Quietens or smiles to the sounds of familiar voice even when unable to see speaker and turns eyes or head towards voice. Shows excitement at sounds (e.g.: voices, footsteps etc).

Make soft sounds when awake e.g.: Gurgles

6 months

Makes laughter-like sounds. Starts to make sing-song vowel sounds (e.g.: a-a, muh, goo, der, aroo, adah).

7 months:

Turns immediately to familiar voice across the room or to very quiet noises made on each side (if not too occupied with other things)

9 months:

Listens attentively to familiar everyday sounds and searches for very quiet sounds made out of sight.

Make sounds to communicate in friendliness or annoyance. Babbles (e.g.: dada da, ma ma ma, ba ba ba). Shows pleasure in babbling loudly and tunefully. Starts imitate other sounds like coughing or smacking lips.

12 months:

Show some response to own name. May also responds to expressions like no and bye bye, even when any accompanying gesture cannot be seen.

Babbles loudly often in a conversational-type rhythm. May starts to use one or two recognizable words.

15 months:

Make lots of speech-like sounds. Uses 2-6 recognizable words meaningfully (eg: teddy when seeing or wanting the teddy bear).

18 months:

Make speech-like sounds with conversational-type rhythm when playing. Uses 6-20 recognizable words. Tries to join in nursery rhymes and songs.

24 months:

Uses 50 or more recognizable words appropriately. Puts 2 or more words together to make simple sentences (for example: more milk). Joins in nursery rhymes and songs. Talks to self during play (may be incomprehensible to others).

30 months:

Uses 200 or more recognizable words. Uses pronouns (eg: I, me, you). Uses sentences but many will lack adult structure. Talks intelligibly to self during play. Asks questions. Says few nursery rhymes.

If at any stage in the baby or child’s development you think he/she may have difficulties hearing, contact your ENT doctor.