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You probably think your baby's hearing is fine. But if a few-year-old does not always respond to commands, sits close to the TV or often catches infections, it is worth checking his hearing.

Hearing screening tests have been conducted in newborns for several years in Poland . This allows you to find any birth defects and start therapy. But a lot of damage comes later. Research conducted by specialists from the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing in Kajetany shows that every fifth school-age child has problems withhearing .

Runny nose causes hearing problems

According to specialists, about 70 percent of children from the studied group, hearing impairment is a consequence of a history of infections, mainly of the upper respiratory tract. Even during a banal runny nose, exudation and swelling appear not only in the nose, but also in the throat and middle ear. Poorly treated or even "passed" catarrhal infections cause that fluid accumulates in the spaces of the middle ear and adhesions form, which makeschildworse hearing. One of the most common causes of hearing loss is chronic otitis media with effusion. During illness, fluid builds up in the tympanic cavity, which is normally where there is air, making it difficult to transmit sounds. Untreated, the condition can lead to permanent changes. Hearing loss can also be caused by a hypertrophy of the third tonsil. Its enlargement narrows the airways and clogs the mouths of the Eustachian tubes, causing hearing problems. Complications in the form of hearing problems also occur after many infections, seemingly unrelated to the ears - angina, mumps, measles or meningitis. The child may also start to hear worse due to improper care of the ears - the earwax deposited in the ear canal is pushed deeper with the help of sticks and blocks the ear canals.

What to do if you suspect a child has a hearing loss?

If you suspect that your child's hearing is impaired, you need to see an audiologist or otolaryngologist who will perform audiometric tests (with a referral from a pediatrician). If he finds hearing loss, he or she will apply therapy. When the cause of the hearing loss is a wax plug, the doctor will remove it with a special instrument or recommend that the child be allowed toear a few drops of the preparation that will dissolve the secretion. If fluid builds up in your ear, it will need to be removed during surgery. There are cases, however, when the hearing is permanently damaged. Then you need to get an implant or choose a hearing aid.

Which hearing aid?

The type of hearing aid is selected by the hearing care professional taking into account e.g. the child's age and degree of hearing loss. The hearing aid must be adjusted to the size of the ear, and also … the frequency of infection. Models placed behind the ear are recommended for toddlers. They can be used for a long time, because their functionality is not affected by the fact that the ear canal grows as the child grows. With time, however, the part of the casing that the hearing aid attaches to the ear (the so-called earhook) should be replaced with a larger one. Older children may wear intra-canal (in-the-ear) hearing aids. Before purchasing, make sure your camera has a battery drawer lock to prevent accidental opening and a volume knob cover. The hearing aid volume level, appropriate for a child, should be adjusted by a he althcare professional, and such a cover will prevent accidental change of settings.

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