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Management of hearing loss
Early intervention and detection of hearing loss is necessary to prevent additional problems with speech and language development. A healthcare team approach is normally used when a child is diagnosed with some degree of hearing loss. Team members include the following:
- Audiologist - a professional who specializes in the evaluation and management of hearing and balance problems in people of all ages. Audiologists are also involved with the fitting and management of hearing aids and other assistive devices.
- Otolaryngologists - a physician with special training in medical and surgical treatment for children who have disorders of the ear, nose and throat.
- Speech pathologist - a professional who helps evaluate and manage speech, language and hearing problems in your child.
Specific treatment for hearing loss will be determined by your child's physician based on:
- Your child's age, overall health and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
Management of hearing loss may include one or more of the following:
- Use of hearing aids - electronic or battery-operated devices that can amplify and change sound. A microphone receives the sound and converts it into sound waves. The sound waves are then converted into electrical signals.
- Cochlear implants - a surgically placed appliance that helps to transmit electrical stimulation to the inner ear. Only certain children are candidates for this type of device. Consult your child's physician for more information.
- Training in sign language and lip reading.