Treatment for Hearing Loss in Children - A guide to Hearing Loss
It can be a shock finding out that your child has some form of hearing loss, is profoundly deaf or is likely to lose their hearing over a period of time. But once you have come to terms with this diagnosis then it is a case of finding the best course of treatment for you and your child.
Your ear specialist and/or GP will be able to talk through the various options available to you which include a cochlear implant, a hearing aid or myringotomy.
If the hearing loss is temporary, as a result of a middle ear infection such as otitis media or glue ear then in most cases there is no need for treatment. The infection usually clears up on its own accord and hearing returns to normal.
The exception to this are repeated, chronic infections which will require antibiotics or surgery in which grommets are inserted into the ear drum to enable fluid to drain away.
This is performed as part of a procedure called a ‘myringotomy’ in which the ear drum is pierced to relieve pressure caused by the build up of fluid. One this has completely drained the surgeon will insert the grommet into the ear drum. If the ear infection has resulted in a perforated ear drum then in nine out of ten cases this heals itself without any long term effects. But there are a few situations in which the rip or tear refuses to heal which leaves it open and vulnerable to further infections.
In this case a surgical procedure called a ‘myringoplasty’ will be performed in which a small piece of skin is taken from above the ear and grafted over the site of the perforation.
A hearing aid is a very popular treatment for hearing loss. These come in all shapes and sizes but what they all do is to enable you to hear sounds more clearly.
They cannot restore your child’s hearing or give him/her perfect hearing but they can help him/her to hear everyday sounds and join in conversations. Lip reading can also help here.
There are two types of hearing aid: analogue and digital.
A cochlear implant is an electronic replacement for a damaged cochlea which uses electrodes and an external device, worn on the side of the head. This stimulates the auditory nerve which then transmits these signals to the brain where they are interpreted as sounds.
Many treatments for hearing loss in adults can be applied to children such as those discussed in this article. Grommets, hearing aids, antibiotics, cochlear implants and ear surgery are all discussed individually in our hearing loss treatments section.