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Hearing Loss

Hearing loss

Hearing loss in children can be very obvious or sometimes quite hard to detect. An older child will tell you they are having a problem but with a younger one there may be more subtle clues. Such things such as the child shouting, ignoring you or turning up the volume on the TV often occur. The nursery or school teacher may comment that your child has become a little withdrawn or less keen to play with others.

Newborn Hearing Screening

All babies in the United Kingdom have their hearing tested shortly after birth. The purpose of this test is to pick up the very few who have been born with severe problems and allow them to be treated quickly.

Some children develop problems later on or may have milder losses which are not obvious until they are older.

Types of Hearing Loss

The ear consists of 3 parts; the outer, middle and inner.  The outer ear includes the bit you see on the outside and the ear canal which passes down to the eardrum.  The middle ear is the small space behind the ear drum which contains the three little bones of hearing. The inner ear is deep inside the head and connects the nerve of hearing to the brain.

1)     Conductive Hearing loss

This type of hearing loss is due to problems in the outer or middle ear.  Wax in the ear canal is the most common cause and this can be easily treated by removing the blockage in the outpatients.

The next most likely cause of such a loss is glue ear, which is fluid building up in the middle ear.

More rarely problems with the small bones of hearing or the eardrum itself might be responsible for a conductive hearing loss.

2)     Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This is caused by the inner ear, hearing nerve or possibly the hearing part of the brain not working properly. If it is severe, consideration will need to be given to using hearing aids or in some cases an operation called cochlear implantation is indicated.