The hearing is one of the five senses. It gives us the ability to access and respond to the different sounds in the world around us. Hearing impairment is a serious problem that affects people of all ages. Without quick and effective treatment, hearing impairment can cause children to suffer from speech delays, educational challenges, and social problems.
There are four major types of hearing loss, characterized by the site of the disorder in the system. These disorders can be caused by hereditary or genetic factors, developmental abnormalities, infections and traumatic/environmental factors.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss
This is caused by obstruction of damage in the middle or external ear that hinders the efficient conduction or passage of sound through these chambers. This loss can be treated medically.
Mixed Hearing Loss
This is a combination of the sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Central Hearing Loss
This is the result of a dysfunction or disorder in the auditory system between the auditory cortex in the brain and the brain stem.
Deafness Characteristics and Symptoms
Deafness and hearing impairment manifests with specific characteristics and symptoms. Although deafness characteristics vary among children, there are some behaviours and traits that are characteristically an indication of hearing difficulties.
It is normal for children to tune out to some commands or statements from adults in authority. However, many children who ignore their parents are usually unable to hear what they said. Hearing-impaired children do not hear their names when called. This behaviour can be labeled as misconduct or inattention. A developmental evaluation or hearing test helps to determine the reason or the cause of a kid’s selective hearing.
Delays in speech and language development are a clear indication of deafness and hearing loss in children. Children who do not utter a single word by the age of 1 or two-word phrases at 2 years might have a hearing impairment. A baby with normal hearing can name familiar objects, recognise family members’ names and follow simple commands. When diagnosed and treated early, these toddlers will generally catch up to their peers.
Hearing impaired children develop a few behavioural symptoms. Many will turn up the radio or TVs to a high volume trying to compensate for their sensory problems. Children with deafness also closely watch their peers trying to emulate their body language and behaviour. Irritability and academic problems are major deafness characteristics.
Some common deafness characteristics in classrooms include;
- The difficulty with expressing them orally.
- The difficulty with emotional, social or interpersonal skills.
- Difficulty understanding verbal directions.
- Language delay as compared to the peers.The Deafness Research Foundation is continually looking for advanced ways and technology to prevent and cure hearing loss through its groundbreaking research. It has made significant progress in the quest to diagnose hearing problems and treating them early.