Hear This! (Hearing Loss)

Keep an eye on your kid’s ears to prevent the risk of hearing loss.

Hearing loss among Aboriginal children is a serious problem. In some areas, nearly all school-age children have some level of hearing impairment. This is commonly a result of a chronic middle ear infection, also known as otitis media or glue ear.

Risk factors for otitis media include being born prematurely, colds, flu and chest infections, and being exposed to cigarette smoke (passive smoking).

Signs your child may have otitis media include:

  • Ear ache or pain in the ear
  • Temperature or high fever
  • Rubbing or pulling ears
  • Poor balance

Thing you can do to help prevent your child from getting otitis media include:

  • Take your child for regular check-ups
  • Breast feeding helps to protect against infection
  • Teach your child how to blow their nose so they can get rid of mucous. Blow ” don’t wipe
  • Make sure your child eats healthy foods.
  • Don’t smoke around children

You should also keep watch for any signs that your child might be experiencing hearing loss.

“Some states now screen newborn babies for deafness, which identifies children with hearing loss at birth and makes it possible for early assistance to be provided,” says Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children ‘s Manager of Children’s Services, Jan North.

“But evidence now suggests that just as many children develop severe long term hearing loss after birth as before.

Research has proven that the earlier a child can be identified with hearing loss and provided with appropriate aids and intervention, the better their language skills and educational outcomes will be.

Signs that your child might be experiencing hearing loss include:

  • Not appearing to hear you when you’re behind them
  • Not turning towards you when you speak
  • Not being startled at loud noises
  • Having a red ear or pulling at an ear (possible signs of an ear infection)
  • Not speaking until a later age
  • Using unclear speech
  • Daydreaming or withdrawing in social situations
  • Not appearing to hear instructions, or always saying “what?”
  • Doing badly at school or pre-school

“These signs don’t necessarily mean your child has hearing loss but if your child is experiencing one or more, I would urge you to arrange a hearing test,” says Jan.

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