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  • Sound or Noise? Keep Baby Safe from Hearing Loss Danger

    Learn about the ill effects of noisy toys on your child’s ears and what you can do to prevent damage to his hearing ability.
    by Stephanie F. Esguerra .

  • Hearing loss danger

    Voltaire Ungui, author of Hearing Loss: What To Do Now?, explains how typically, babies with normal hearing will get startled by loud noises during their sleep. At six months, they will respond to auditory cues such as when someone calls their name. The child’s overall ability to speak is also largely reliant on the ability to hear properly, as speech develops from cooing during infancy, mimicry of sounds during the formative years, until simple words can be spoken. Beyond age two, your little one should be able to talk, know how to respond to simple questions, and determine the source of sounds. If your child does not exhibit these common indications of normal hearing, then you might want to have his ears checked by specialists.

    Children who live in a noisy environment are more prone to damaging their ears. A significant effect that noise can create for your tot, says Dr. Singson, is noise-induced hearing loss. This happens when the inner ear is damaged, caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises. The good thing about noise-induced hearing loss is that it is preventable. Dr. Singson suggests closing windows and doors, wearing ear protectors like ear plugs or ear muffs, and taking Vitamin B to help strengthen the ear nerve and prevent tinnitus (damage of nerve cells in the cochlea), which causes a persistent ringing, hissing, and buzzing sound in the ears.

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    Should you suspect that your child might have hearing loss, Ungui suggests bringing him to the following professionals:1. ENT (ears, nose, throat). They have special training in handling the medical and medicinal needs of ENT problems. They prescribe medicine and perform surgery.2. Audiologist. They use medically approved instruments like hearing aids and cochlear implants for the diagnosis, intervention, evaluation, and management of hearing loss3. Hearing aid consultant. When there are no audiologists available.4. Speech therapists. They help manage speech and learning development aspects of the child as he grows. 

    Ear Care for Your Child“Cleaning the ear is not advisable,” says Bernabe S. Singson, M.D., Ears, Nose, Throat, Head and Neck Surgery Specialist. Cleaning the ear usually leads to external ear infection, and according to Voltaire Ungui, author of Hearing Loss: What To Do Now?, infections of the ear canal and eardrum can lead to hearing loss. 

    “The ear has a natural cleaning process,” stresses Dr. Singson. Cerumen, or ear wax, carries outwards the old wax and dead skin from the ear canal. It also plays a vital role in maintaining the health and cleanliness of the outer ear. It protects the parts inside the ear canal and the ear drum from foreign bodies, says Ungui. Babies’ and children’s ears should never be cleaned, says Dr. Singson. For adults, at most would be once a week. He also emphasizes that cotton buds should not be used for cleaning the ears because they only traumatize the ear canal. “Just use moist cotton [to wipe the outer ear],” he says. 

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    Photo by cross-eyed doll via flickr creative commons

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