According to education.vic.gov.au “In Australia, three to six children in every thousand have some degree of hearing loss. Approximately 250–400 children born each year have significant permanent hearing loss in both ears.” Early intervention during the first years of life is key to helping the child live independently in the future. The first years of life are a unique window of opportunity that will have a long-term impact in relation to the child’s growth and development. Research shows that babies who were diagnosed and have undergone early intervention by 6 months of age have better language and learning outcomes than those who were not or intervened late.
Types of hearing loss:
The conductive hearing loss is due to the problem in the ear that prevents proper transmission of sounds to the inner ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. Other causes are due to the damage of the auditory nerve or the brain.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. It may be due to a head injury or long-term infection.
Hearing loss can be :
Unilateral which is affecting one ear
Bilateral which affects two ears
Diagnosing hearing loss
Addressing hearing issues during the first years of life is a crucial step prior to attending other kinds of support. Evaluation is done by an audiologist in a quiet, sound-treated booth wherein the child will wear a headphone that is connected to an audiometer.
The three main tests are:
· Tone audiometry: uses tones at different pitches and volumes to test the child’s hearing capability
· Speech audiometry: evaluates recorded or live speech
· Tympanometry: used to see any condition/s in the middle ear affecting the hearing capacity of the child
NDIS hearing supports
If you think your child is experiencing hearing loss, your Early Childhood Early Intervention partner and your Local Area Coordinator may be able to help you accessing NDIS supports for your child. Once your child becomes an NDIS participant, the NDIS may be able to fund him/her with:
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