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Archive for January 2017

Understanding Hearing Loss in Children

Experiencing hearing loss in the early developmental stages of life can not only make it difficult for a child to hear and enjoy the world around them, but also hinder his or her ability to effectively learn and speak their native language. Regardless of the extent of your son or daughter’s hearing loss, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible, as research has found a positive correlation between early treatment and improved language acquisition, academic success and enhanced opportunities over the course of his or her lifetime.

Common Causes and Symptoms:

Otitis Media

More commonly referred to as a middle ear infection, otitis media causes inflammation in the middle ear (the air-filled space behind the eardrum) and is often characterized by a buildup of fluid, which may or may not is infected. Otitis media is extremely common in infants and young children; in fact, 75 percent of kids experience at least one episode by the time they turn three years old.

Otitis media is especially prevalent in children because their Eustachian tubes (which connect the middle ear to the nose) are not yet fully developed, which makes it easy for fluid to accumulate within the middle ear and potentially become infected. Acute or short-term, otitis media can temporarily affect your child’s hearing, even if there are no signs of pain or infection. If the issue is left unaddressed or becomes chronic, it can also cause permanent damage to his or her hearing. Common symptoms of otitis media include:

  • Inexplicable irritability
  • Tugging on/scratching at their ears
  • Inattentiveness
  • Needing the TV or radio turned up louder than usual
  • Fever
  • Ear pain
  • Lack of reaction to loud noises or voices
  • Uttering simple sounds that taper off
  • Listlessness and/or lack of energy

Congenital Causes

When a disease or condition is referred to as congenital, it means the issue was present at birth. Congenital hearing loss can be hereditary or occur due to issues that arise in utero (prenatal) or at the time of birth (postnatal). More than half of all cases of congenital hearing loss in children are linked to genetic factors (e.g. autosomal dominant genes, autosomal recessive genes, genetic syndromes, etc.). Other common causes of congenital hearing loss include:

  • Maternal diabetes
  • Premature birth
  • Rh factor complications
  • Toxemia (during pregnancy)
  • Lack of oxygen during pregnancy or at birth
  • Intrauterine infections such as herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus, and rubella

Acquired Causes

An acquired hearing loss means it appeared or developed, sometime after the child was born. Acquired hearing loss can happen to anyone at any time, and is typically the result of an injury, condition or disease. Examples of conditions commonly associated with acquired hearing loss in children include:

  • Chronic ear infections (otitis media)
  • Mumps
  • Measles
  • Chicken pox
  • The flu
  • Ototoxic drugs
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Head injuries
  • Prolonged exposure to loud noises

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s hearing, Davis Family Hearing – Florida’s premier family hearing center – is here to help. To learn about our pediatric treatment packages or our comprehensive array of other quality hearing health care services, stop by or call the location nearest you to schedule a free hearing screening.

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The Importance of Properly Fit Hearing Aids

Hearing aids, more than many other commonly used medical devices, have truly made a difference in the lives of countless people who have struggled with hearing. Nothing quite gives you a new lease on life like being able to clearly hear the world around you again. Though hearing aids cannot cure hearing loss, they can significantly improve the ease with which you communicate with others and help you live the vibrant, alert life you deserve.

Unfortunately, an improperly fit hearing aid will result in significantly less effective results for the wearer. Hearing aids must be properly fitted by an experienced audiologist in order to deliver their full benefits.

How Are Hearing Aids Fit?

Once it has been determined that you do in fact have hearing loss and you’ve had a chance to select the hearing aids you want, your audiologist will check the physical fit of your devices to ensure they’re comfortable. Be aware that this process is more of an art than a science, and that it typically takes around three office visits to reach the proper fit in terms of comfort and optimal effectiveness.

Your hearing aids will then be programmed and adjusted to fit your unique lifestyle needs and degree of hearing loss. Ear mold impressions may also be taken to ensure the best possible fit of your devices.

Can Hearing Aids Change in Size?

Sometimes hearing aids can feel as if they don’t fit the same or no longer stay in place like they once did, which causes people to wonder if the materials used to make them have worn down or warped in some way. More often than not, the reason your hearing devices feel like they fit differently is because your body has changed, rather than the devices themselves.

Factors that can affect the fit and comfort of your hearing aids include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Losing Weight – People often don’t realize that when they lose weight, it can affect far more areas of the body than just the places where you’re trying to shed weight. Even losing just five pounds can cause your hearing aids to fit looser!
  • Aging Process – Your cartilage will continue to grow and your earlobes can actually elongate from the effects of gravity, meaning your hearing aid may not always stay in place as tightly as it once did.

Noticed Changes in the Way Your Hearing Aids Fit?

If you or your loved one’s hearing aids feel uncomfortable, too loose or too tight, are causing you pain, have started whistling or are interfering with your ability to wear them in any other way, we encourage you to come into Davis Family Hearing and have them looked at right away.

Our team of caring audiologists have the knowledge and expertise necessary to determine whether the problem affecting your hearing aids is a minor fitting issue or if it’s a more severe problem that may potentially require you to be fitted with an entirely new device.

To learn more about our comprehensive array of hearing services or to schedule an appointment to have your device carefully examined and adjusted, contact the location nearest you today!

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