A child’s hearing ability can be affected by congenital or genetic issues, head injuries, loud noise, infections or brain damage.
Ireland has about 800,000 people with some degree of hearing loss. This includes the senior population and just 2,590 Deaf native ISL users. About 2,600 deaf/hard-of-hearing children are currently in the education system. Of this total, 90% attend mainstream schools, with 10% at specialist schools.
A deaf person’s knowledge of, or fluency in ISL should not be assumed as this depends on their family and educational background. The majority of deaf children and people are verbal, thanks to new hearing technologies. This comprehensive chart shows the main communication options in use.
Top Question: Is my baby deaf? Possible indicators to watch for
Deafness in Children
About 100 children in Ireland are born deaf every year (two per week), according to the support service, DeafHear.ie. In the wider population, about 17% of people have some kind of hearing loss. Your child’s audiologist should be able to explain what sounds your child can, and can’t hear.
Hearing Loss Thresholds
Hearing loss can occur anywhere in the auditory (hearing) system. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Term and Hearing Loss in Decibels:
The two main types of hearing loss are:
1) Conductive Hearing Loss
This loss may be temporary and occurs when sound vibrations from the outer or middle ear are blocked from reaching the inner ear.
Causes: middle-ear infections, a perforated eardrum, earwax in the ear canal, unusual bone growth (otosclerosis), fluid in the middle ear (“glue ear” in children) or head injury.
2) Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This loss is permanent and occurs in the pathway from the inner ear (including the cochlea) to the nerve fibres linking the inner ear to the brain.
Causes: acoustic trauma (loud noise), head injury, stroke, mumps, meningitis, congenital issues, Meniere’s disease, brain or auditory nerve tumour or multiple sclerosis.
What are Audiograms?
Audiograms are charts used to record the results of some types of hearing test. They show how loud a sound has to be, before your child will hear it (without hearing-aids). Separate audiograms will be completed for the left and right ears. This is because your child may be deaf in one ear (unilateral loss) or in both ears (bilateral loss).
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