Congenital hearing loss occurs during fetal development and is present in infants from birth. While congenital hearing loss is much rarer than gradual hearing loss, it is still one of the most common birth defects amongst U.S. babies. It’s estimated that about 12,000 children are born with a hearing impairment each year across the country, and many of them are developmentally delayed throughout their childhood because of the condition. If you’re a new parent in Portland, an infant hearing assessment by a professional audiologist is the best way to ensure you detect any signs of hearing loss in time to treat it effectively.
The Risks of Untreated Infant Hearing Loss
It can be difficult to identify a hearing problem before a child begins to communicate, but early detection is vital to healthy hearing and overall development. Impaired hearing left untreated during a child’s formative years often results in several developmental delays, which can affect them into adulthood. These delays commonly cause negative impacts on a child’s language, interpersonal, behavioral, academic and communicational skills.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss in Babies
If you’re a parent in Portland, hearing loss awareness should always be a high priority. While all babies develop differently, there are a few telling signs of hearing loss within the first few years. Infants should react to loud speaking or other sounds with movement, babbling or crying, even at just a few months old. Babies that stare intently but don’t react to sounds in their surrounding environment are often suffering from a hearing problem. Young babies and toddlers should also meet the standard speech-language milestones for their age group. You can find out more about these milestones by talking to your Portland pediatric hearing doctor.
Newborn Hearing Tests
Newborn hearing screenings are very basic tests performed on about 92% of babies within 1–3 days of birth. These screenings indicate whether or not a parent needs to schedule a hearing evaluation at a Portland audiology office for a more in-depth diagnosis. Despite the fact that 2–10% of newborn hearing screenings show signs of hearing loss, only 54% of these babies are taken in for a hearing assessment.
If your newborn has an irregular hearing screening or exhibits any symptoms of a hearing impairment, schedule an appointment with a pediatric audiologist in Portland as soon as possible.