According to one of the CDC’s National Health Interview Surveys, approximately five of every 1,000 children ages three to 17 years of age have hearing loss. If you suspect your child is among this population, you may be wondering what the treatment options are. We review some of the most common ones below.
In some cases, getting medical care for an underlying condition is all that is needed to address hearing loss. For example, antibiotics can clear up a middle ear infection and steroids can treat inflammation that has caused sudden hearing loss.
If your child experiences severe, chronic ear infections, ear tubes may need to be placed to allow the middle ears to drain. These tubes are placed surgically and usually fall out on their own after doing their job.
Middle Ear Bone Repair
There are several surgical treatment options to address outer and middle ear conditions:
- Ossicular chain reconstruction (ossiculoplasty) entails replacing the middle ear bones with prosthetics.
- Tympanoplasty involves closing a perforated eardrum using graft materials.
- Stapedotomy means removing the existing stapes bone and replacing it with a prosthetic.
- Aural atresia repair entails creating a new eardrum wit fascia tissue and using a skin graft to form a new ear canal.
Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds to the ears’ level. They consist of four main parts:
- A microphone, which picks up sounds in the environment
- An amplifier, which turns up the volume on these noises to the exact specification your child’s hearing loss requires
- A receiver or speaker, which delivers the amplified sounds to the ears
- A battery, which powers the device
Most children are fit with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. These devices are available in various sizes and colors, and the tubing and earmolds can easily be replaced as your child grows. These devices are versatile and suit anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss.
An audiologist can conduct a hearing test to determine your child’s exact type and degree of hearing loss, select a hearing aid and program it to suit their needs.
Cochlear implants are another great option for treating severe to profound hearing loss if your child isn’t benefitting from hearing aids. Unlike hearing aids, which simply amplify sound, cochlear implants transmit electrical signals directly to your child’s cochlea within the inner ear, bypassing the damaged parts of the ear.
A key to successful treatment with cochlear implants is for your child to attend speech therapy sessions to develop listening and speaking skills.
Talk to the Experts
If your child has recently been diagnosed with hearing loss and you want additional resources for parents, contact Assistive Technology for Kansans.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Topeka ENT today.