Hearing experts are urging parents to be on the lookout for the signs of hearing loss. Ahead of Hearing Awareness Week 2017, leading Australian children’s charity The Shepherd Centre and ambassador Penny McNamee have launched an online Hearing Quiz for parents to help identify whether their child may be affected by hearing loss.
Currently, there is no routine hearing testing for children after the SWISH (Statewide Infant Screening – Hearing) newborn screening process. This is despite the fact that two-thirds of children with hearing loss are diagnosed at a later date.
Common signs of hearing loss can include a child watching facial expressions more intently than usual, not responding to their name when called, touching or pulling on their ears and listening to the TV louder than seems necessary.
Parents who suspect their child may have hearing loss should seek professional help as soon as possible. Research shows children who receive early intervention therapy go on to achieve listening and spoken language skills on par and even above their hearing peers.
A recent report shows around three in five (62%) children with a hearing impairment who receive early intervention go on to achieve a tertiary level qualification. This compares to only two in five (43.3%) of the general population .
After her second child Levi passed his routine screening at birth, hearing loss was the last thing on busy mum of four Felicity’s mind. However she became worried when at almost three years old, Levi’s speech didn’t seem to be progressing.
After a trip to the GP, the family discovered Levi had hearing loss in both ears. While reeling from the news, Felicity had the rest of her family tested and discovered her younger daughter Charlie was also profoundly deaf.
Over the space of the next two years Felicity juggled the diagnosis of both children, regular early intervention therapy sessions at The Shepherd Centre, fitting them both for hearing aids and, eventually, surgery to receive cochlear implants. Both kids were ‘switched on’ the same day just before Christmas in 2014.
Felicity credits The Shepherd Centre’s unwavering support for helping her feel confident in planning for her kids’ futures saying, “We really learn the skills to monitor their hearing and speech and how to implement techniques to practice into our everyday lives. The Shepherd Centre treats you as a family unit and they go above and beyond to make sure we have all the information we need to support our kids as they grow.”