It's important to find and treat hearing loss early. This can prevent additional problems with a child's speech and language development. A healthcare team approach is normally used when a child is diagnosed with some degree of hearing loss. Team members include the following:
Audiologist. A provider who specializes in assessing and managing hearing and balance problems in people of all ages. Audiologists also help with the fitting and management of hearing aids and other assistive devices.
Otolaryngologist. A doctor with special training in medical and surgical treatment for children who have disorders of the ear, nose, and throat (ENT doctor).
Speech pathologist. A provider who helps evaluate and manage speech, language, and hearing problems in your child.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Managing hearing loss may include one or more of the following:
Hearing aids. Electronic or battery-operated devices that can amplify and change sound. A microphone receives the sound and changes it into sound waves. The sound waves are then changed into electrical signals.
Cochlear implants. A surgically placed device that helps to send electrical stimulation to the inner ear. Only children with hearing loss too severe for hearing aid use are candidates for this type of device. Talk with your child's healthcare provider for more information.
Training in sign language, lip reading, and other language approaches. There are many different types of language approaches. These include sign language and lip reading. Some families choose to use just one method. Others combine communication strategies from a few different types.