Hearing loss, especially in an infant or newborn, can be frightening for any parent. Young children aren’t equipped to understand the nuances of their hearing loss. Without the right health insurance, diagnosing hearing loss in young children can prove difficult, especially as it begins to impact language development.
Naturally, if you’re concerned that your infant or newborn is suffering from a hearing condition, early intervention is critical, as is finding the right health insurance coverage for their needs. From looking for a referral for a pediatric audiologist to deciding between health plans, here’s what you need to know.
Early intervention is a must.
When you’re dealing with an infant, it’s often difficult to tell if there are any risk factors for hearing loss. A child who is one month of age, for instance, will not have developed any language skills, which will make it hard to determine if language development has been impacted or stunted in some way. While newborn hearing screenings are common before leaving the hospital, a newborn hearing screening might not pick up subtle signs.
For example, if a child is one month of age or even a year of age, they should respond to loud noises. By one year of age, young children should be capable of turning towards sounds and attempting to say smaller, single words. If a hearing impairment is a parental concern of yours, you need to find a qualified audiologist as soon as you can. A pediatric hearing screening can detect some of the telltale signs of hearing loss. Your audiologist will also be able to rule out any common risk factors. Risk factors can be genetic and environmental in many cases.
If you don’t have a pediatric audiologist, ask your regular pediatrician for a referral. If you can’t get a referral or don’t have a pediatrician to provide a referral, you may want to turn to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP can get you in touch with affiliates and services that may be able to help your child.
Diagnostic testing can help.
While a newborn hearing screening might seem daunting, that same hearing screening is what will aid your baby’s hearing. In the field of audiology, these types of intervention services include a physical examination and some audiometry like clicks near the ear canal to compare your baby’s hearing against normal hearing thresholds. Specialists also use electrodes in the early identification and detection of hearing loss. If developmental conditions are impacting your child’s hearing, your pediatric audiologist may suggest an auditory brainstem response (ABR) test and a periodic hearing screening. Some of these tests will be determined by your health insurance coverage which may have exclusions for certain intervention programs and devices like a hearing aid.
Health insurance coverage can help.
Having the right health insurance is paramount, especially for parents in the United States. Health insurance coverage in the United States can be costly for families who are buying from the marketplace. On the other hand, not all families qualify for programs like Medicare or Medicaid that can help cover your baby’s hearing care costs. When you’re looking for family plans, you need to find ones with easy enrollment that not only offer preventive pediatric health care through a primary provider but also offer services like speech-language pathologists and a universal newborn hearing screening.
Early hearing detection is a parental concern for millions in the United States and across the globe. To learn more about early hearing detection, contact your pediatrician or the human services department at your primary care provider. Within the first few months of life, it can feel like it’s nearly impossible to diagnose hearing loss. However, with the right pediatrician, human services team, and even a speech-language pathologist, you can find the proper care for your child.