What causes hearing loss?
The ear is a complex structure which receives sound in the outer ear, conducts it mechanically through the middle ear and converts it to neural impulses (inner ear) that travel to the brain.

There are Three Main Types of Hearing Impairment

(a) Conductive Hearing Loss:
Conductive hearing loss may be caused by malfunctioning of the outer or middle ear. Usually this can be improved by medical or surgical treatment, especially if treatment is given in time. In cases that can't be treated, hearing aids may be recommended.

Common causes of conductive hearing loss impairment are

  • External or middle ear infection.
  • Fluids in the middle ear (otitis media).
  • Cerumen in the outer ear canal.
  • Foreign objects in the outer canal.
  • Tumors
  • Perforation or scarring of the eardrum.
  • Otosclerosis.
  • Dislocation of the chain of bones in the middle ear.

(b) Sensoneural hearing loss (nerve deafness)
Some causes of sensoneural hearing impairment are

  • Age related (presbyacusis).
  • Injury, trauma.
  • Noise exposure.
  • Ototoxicity (drugs and compounds that damage the inner ear).
  • Viral infections (such as mumps, rubella).
  • Meniere's disease.
  • Tumors of the auditory nerve.
  • Meningitis.
  • High fever (particularly if prolonged).
  • Genetic factors.
  • Mostly, sensorineural hearing loss cannot be treated medically or
  • surgically, and hearing aids are recommended.

(c) Mixed hearing loss.
Mixed hearing loss is caused by a combination of conductive and sensorineural elements.

How can I tell if my child has a hearing loss?
2% of the children under the age of 18 yrs have a certain degree of hearing loss, which may cause a delay in speech and language development and social and scholastic difficulties.

Does your child:…

  • Raise the volume when watching TV?
  • Respond to questions inappropriately?
  • Not respond when you call him/her?
  • Look at others to see what they're doing?
  • Have difficulty in school?
  • Complain of pain in the ears or noises in the head?
  • Have difficulty localizing the source of sounds?

If you have answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, it is recommended that your child undergo a professional auditory evaluation (hearing tests) by a certified audiologist.

How do I know if I have a hearing loss?
As we get older, a certain hearing loss may appear.
Above the age of 50 yrs, half the population has a hearing impairment. Most hearing losses develop gradually. The voices and sounds that keep us in touch with the world around us get dimmer and eventually the hearing loss can interfere with the normal functioning of daily life.

Do you…

  • Ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Raise the volume when watching TV?
  • Hear that someone's speaking but are unable to understand them?
  • Find it difficult to hear children's' voices?
  • Turn to position your ear in the direction of the person speaking?

If you have answered "yes" to one or more of these questions we recommend that your undergo a professional auditory evaluation by a certified audiologist.

Is my child's speech development appropriate for his age?
How can I tell if my child's speech and language are appropriate for his age?
If you are wondering about your child's speech and/or language level, you can compare to norms by answering the following questions. Answer the yes/no questions in your child's age group.

Does your child vocalize?
3 months
Does your child babble?
Does your child's crying sound different when crying for different reasons?

6 months
Does your child's babbling sound like your speech, just not so clear?
Does your child produce many different sounds?

9 - 12 months
Does your child say words (2-3 words at the age of 1 yr, 8-10 words at 11/2 yrs. The words may not be articulated clearly)?
Does your child enjoy mimicking sounds?
Does your child have his own jargon (murmuring and babbling that sound like speech)?
Does your child use his voice to attract attention?

1½ - 2 years
Does your child have a vocabulary of 10-15 words (till the age of 2 yrs)?
Does your child ask 1-2 word questions?
Does your child combine two words to make a short sentence?
Does your child pronounce most of the sounds, except for r, sh, l, s, z?

2½ – 4 years
Does your child have a vocabulary of 200-300 words?
Does your child speak in 2-3 words sentences?
Does your child frequently ask "why" and "what"?
Has your child stopped using jargon (murmuring and babbling that sound like speech) and mimicking?
Does your child like to name objects?

5 yrs
Does your child pronounce all the sounds correctly, except for sh, s, z?
Does your child use sentence structures similar to those other members of the family use?
Does your child's voice sound clear; is the voice quality similar to that of other children?

If you answered "yes" to all the questions, your child's speech and language seem to be developing normally.

If you answered "no" to 1-2 questions, your child may have delayed speech and language development.

If you answered "no" to more than two questions, it is recommended that you take your child for a professional evaluation by a qualified speech and language pathologist.

Questions may be referred to our Hebrew website in Ynet

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