Fluctuating hearing loss is a form of hearing loss that seems to frequently change. It can be associated with conductive hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss and could become worse over time.
Fluctuating hearing loss can affect a child’s speech and language development (less so than sensorineural hearing loss), so it’s important to understand how to best support a child if they’re experiencing sensorineural hearing loss.
Causes of Fluctuating Hearing Loss
Fluctuating hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common causes are:
- Ear infections
- Noise exposure
- Ear wax buildup
- Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED)
- Ménière’s Disease
Multiple ear infections could impact a child’s hearing for an extended period. Successive hearing tests could make fluctuating hearing loss seem better or worse.
Impact of Fluctuating Hearing Loss
Fluctuating hearing loss can affect a child’s development by impacting speech and language development and by creating a social-emotional effect. In an education setting, sounds can be muffled and background noise can make it harder to pick up on conversation. This can impact a child’s ability to learn and diminish confidence in socializing.
Impacts of fluctuating hearing loss:
- Child could be accused of daydreaming or not paying attention when in reality, they cannot hear, leading to a negative impact on self-esteem.
- Child may believe they are less capable due to missing parts of what was being said and potentially falling behind.
- Child may tune out speech signals, delaying speech and language development.
- Child may be poor at identifying changes in their own hearing ability.
The child may be perceived as easily distracted, socially immature or disinterested in class participation, which could often lead to a delay in treatment.
Once fluctuating hearing loss is identified, it’s important to monitor and manage the symptoms. Management options will differ depending on the cause, so if you’ve noticed your child may be struggling to hear others during play dates at Hope Park, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist. The hearing specialist can help identify root causes and form a treatment plan.
To schedule a hearing test for you or a loved one, contact All Generations Audiology.