Common childhood ear problems
The ears are very delicate structures, especially in children. Here's an overview of the most common problems that affect children's ears:
Ear infections are an incredibly common childhood malady. In fact, otitis media is the most frequently diagnosed issue in infants and children. By their third birthday, at least 75 percent of children have had at least one ear infection, and half of them will have three or more ear infections by the age of 3.
There are three different types of ear infections:
Hearing loss affects two or three out of every 1,000 children. Worldwide, this amounts to 32 million children who are deaf or hard of hearing. There are two main categories of hearing loss in children: congenital and acquired.
Congenital hearing loss
Congenital hearing loss means that children were born with it. There are many potential causes of congenital hearing loss, both hereditary and others, including:
Acquired hearing loss
Other times, hearing loss is not present at birth but can develop later. Acquired hearing loss can result from:
Thankfully, hearing loss in young children is often temporary. It can be caused by middle-ear infections (otits media) or earwax buildup. Still, if your child is showing signs of hearing loss, it's important to take him or her to your pediatrician or an audiologist to have the cause of hearing loss checked.
Objects in the ear
Infants and young children are very curious - they like to put things in their ears, nose or mouth that don't belong there. If a child in your care puts something small like a bead in his or her ear, don't panic, but also don't try to remove it yourself. Visit your pediatrician who may be able to remove it, or he or she will refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. Health care professionals and hospitals are equipped with suctioning devices for this exact reason.