When Your Kid Really Isn’t Ignoring You

It’s easy to assume that hearing loss is specific to the Social Security years; it is more likely in older people. Everyone is on the lookout for it.

But less often—and therefore easier to overlook—is hearing loss developing in children. Adults can easily assume that obvious symptoms of hearing loss have to do with something else.

Children have short attention spans, especially regarding things not of their choosing. Not being heard is something every parent experiences. But sometimes it’s not that simple.

Here are some cues that there may be more going on:

  • A child who turns their head to one side when listening.
  • One who refers to either ear being the “good” one.
  • The recognition that a child needs to see you to understand you (this may be a sign they are using visual cues to compensate for hearing loss).
  • Almost all kids talk loudly, but doing so when not in an excited state—in an environment where it doesn’t seem natural—is not unusual in people with hearing issues, since people naturally compensate for not hearing by becoming louder when talking (think of how everyone ends up yelling in a crowded restaurant or bar).
  • Again, most kids turn the volume up on their music. But if it seems excessive—especially with the TV or for other non-musical content—then take note.
  • Finally, an abrupt drop in performance at school can be a sign of hearing loss. Sometimes teachers will notice that a student seems withdrawn or less active in class but not realize hearing loss is the root problem.

A child developing hearing loss after infancy does not happen that often, but it does happen. And there are ways to help once the issue has been diagnosed.

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