Fluctuating Hearing Loss
If you think your child's hearing is changing, get his hearing tested. Then get help early.
Fluctuating hearing loss can be confusing to parents. It can happen to children with normal hearing, and to children with hearing loss.
What is fluctuating hearing loss?
Fluctuating hearing loss can cause conductive, sensorineural or mixed hearing loss. Sometimes fluctuating loss can become a permanent hearing loss that gets worse over time. Take your child to an audiologist and a doctor to see if you can do something about the fluctuating hearing loss.
Causes of fluctuating hearing loss
Middle and Outer Ear Problems
Different diseases can affect hearing in different ways:
Sometimes children with auditory neuropathy have fluctuating hearing loss. Doctors think that damaged auditory nerves cause auditory neuropathy. But because we don't know exactly what causes auditory neuropathy, we don't know why it causes changes in hearing.
Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct
A vestibular aqueduct is the channel that connects a child's inner ear to his brain. This problem means that a child's vestibular aqueduct is bigger than it should be.
If your child has this problem, he could have a progressive or fluctuating hearing loss. He should also be careful not to hit his head (this could cause more damage).
Loud noises can cause a small hearing loss and ringing in the ears for several hours. Then hearing gets better. But this short-term hearing loss can get worse over many years. This doesn't happen a lot to children, but protect your child against loud noises anyway.
Signs of fluctuating hearing loss
If a child has normal hearing
As a baby, he might:
If your baby starts acting only a little bit differently, you might not notice anything.
It's easier to tell if an older child with normal hearing has a fluctuating hearing loss. He might:
If a child has a hearing loss
If you already know that your child has a hearing loss, it may be easier to tell if he starts acting differently to sounds you know he should hear. As a baby, he might:
An older child can tell you when his hearing changes.