KidsMD Health Topics

Hearing Loss in Children

  • Hearing loss is the full or partial inability to detect frequencies of sound. Boston Children's Hospital offers a Habilitative Audiology Program, a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program , a Diagnostic Audiology Program, and a Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement to treat hearing loss, as well as a walk-in evaluation clinic.

    • Parents are typically the first to notice their child's hearing loss.

    • According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly 12,000 babies are born each year in the United States with a hearing impairment.

    • Without screening or testing, hearing loss could go unnoticed until your child is more than a year old. Hearing loss is more likely in premature babies and babies with respiratory problems who have required long-term use of breathing machines, those with previous infections, and those taking certain medications.

    • Early intervention and detection of hearing loss is necessary to prevent additional problems with speech and language development.

    • Some hearing problems are medically or surgically correctable if they are caused by middle ear fluid. Other hearing problems are treated with the use of hearing aids

    • If a hearing problem is found, your audiologist and pediatrician will arrange for your child to be seen by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) and will guide you to other services to help your child learn to communicate.

    How Boston Children's approaches hearing loss

    Boston Children's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program cares for more than 500 children and their families each year. It's one of the country's largest, most comprehensive hearing-loss programs. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program's interdisciplinary team includes hearing and deaf professionals who are experienced working with children of all ages, with varying degrees of hearing loss. At Boston Children's, you'll see a multi-disciplinary team of speech-language pathologists, psychiatrists, ASL specialists, otolaryngologists and audiologists.

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