How to deal with hearing loss in young children

Mayor Nutter takes another look at the winning wrapper design, by Michael Bodenberger. for a Philly-backed condom to address rising STD rates. Alejandro A. Alvarez / Philadelphia Daily News

My parents used to think I was just a loud, boisterous kid, which I’m sure was true.

But there was something else going on.

One day after I rode to nursery school in a carpool, the mother who was driving called my parents and suggested that I get my hearing checked.

It was a good suggestion 40 years ago, when I was four, as tests did reveal a significant hearing loss in both ears.

But these days such a suggestion would have been long overdue. Newborns now have their hearing tested before they leave the hospital, allowing parents to take action, if needed, during those critical early years for language development. Hearing aids work well in many cases. In children with profound deafness, options include cochlear implants or American Sign Language. Some experts advocate a joint approach, as described here:

In my own case, a hearing aid turned out to be the best answer in my left ear, whereas it didn’t work for my right ear.

But I did not get a hearing aid until I was in third grade, which is very late by today’s standards. As a result, I did not learn to enunciate certain consonants correctly, and had to meet with a speech pathologist for several years.

On the plus side, I’m not as boisterous as I used to be.

- Tom Avril

Check out more Check Up items.