May 1, 2022
Increase in late hearing loss diagnoses highlights importance of hearing testing-Parents/caregivers urged to have children’s hearing tested
VANCOUVER, BC – Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre of BC is encouraging parents and caregivers to have their children’s hearing tested, after observing a marked increase in the number of children being diagnosed with hearing loss later in childhood.
All babies born in BC have their hearing checked at birth. The Centre has seen several children who passed newborn hearing screening, but have been diagnosed with hearing loss later.
“We’ve seen an unusual number of children this year who have been diagnosed late. Typically, children are identified at birth through BC’s Early Hearing Program. However, this year we have had five children accessing our programs who were diagnosed after the age of three,” said Loretta Richardson, Director of Education at the Centre. “In some instances this may be due to a progressive hearing loss, which is when hearing is deteriorating over time. We are not sure why this is happening, but want families to know that it is vital to have a child’s hearing checked if there are any concerns with hearing, speech and language development – even if the child passed newborn screening.”
Undiagnosed hearing loss can affect speech and language development, and creates strain on the brain for those who are hard of hearing to try to understand the sounds around them. To learn to listen and speak, children need access to sound, such as hearing aids or other devices, appropriate intervention services and support. This is particularly important in infancy and early childhood, with the opportunity for listening and language development being most intense in the first six months of life.
“May is Speech and Hearing Month and there is no better time to have your child’s hearing checked if there are any signs of potential loss,” added Richardson.
Signs a child may have hearing loss include: delayed speech and language development, children who seem to be inattentive.
Parents and caregivers can contact their family doctor, their local community audiology clinic or our Centre to arrange for a hearing test.