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Hearing Exams and Hearing Loss Prevention with Dr. Ear Wax 

hearing exams
As summer draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about the school year. Among the things parents can do to ensure their children will be at their best to learn is to monitor their hearing. This means annual hearing exams and hearing loss prevention measures. 
Hearing Like Me spoke with Dr. Emily Taylor, AuD, FAAA, owner and clinical audiologist of Taylor Listening Center in Baltimore, Maryland about this topic. She is also a mom of eight-year-old twins and has quite a following on Instagram as Dr. Ear Wax. 

Hearing Exams 

As the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) states, “Hearing sounds and words helps children learn to talk and understand. A child with hearing loss misses out on these sounds. This can cause problems with speaking, reading, school success, and social skills. It is important to have your child tested if you think they have trouble hearing. Getting help early is key.” 

Most, if not all schools will check hearing and vision in preschool and elementary school. Annual well visits to the pediatrician can include hearing screenings, but don’t typically, according to Dr. Taylor.  

One thing parents can do is to make sure their child’s hearing is checked one way or another. Ask your pediatrician to examine the ear canal and ear drum along with having the child respond to beeps at different frequencies and loudness levels. “These screenings are important because even a mild hearing loss can cause problems with speech, language, learning, and social skills,” Dr. Taylor said.  

“These screenings are important because even a mild hearing loss can cause problems with speech, language, learning, and social skills.”

If there are concerns about your child’s hearing, let the pediatrician know. If hearing loss is found, the diagnosis should be added to the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in order for them to receive accommodations in the classroom, such as preferential seating and/or an FM system. Children with established hearing loss should visit a licensed audiologist on a regular basis. 

What to Expect 

An important part of the hearing test is collecting medical history, so Dr. Taylor said to be sure to fill out all paperwork and be ready to discuss any concerns about your child’s hearing. You can prepare your child for a hearing test by letting them know that a special doctor will be gently looking in their ear canals to check the ear drum, and then they will play a game where they get to listen for beeps. “A great audiologist will make the appointment enjoyable for the child!” Dr. Taylor said. 

Hearing Loss Prevention Tips 

The only preventable type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss, so make sure your children are protecting their hearing, Dr. Taylor advised. Among her tips: 

  • Limit the volume of their devices. 
  • Buy volume limiting headphones. 
  • Bring ear protection to loud events like concerts, fireworks, monster truck rallies, etc., and prepare for the event by buying ear protection ahead of time. There are many options available on Amazon.

Watch Dr. Earwax demonstrating Phonak Serenity Choice Plus concert ear plugs

  • Avoid using cotton swabs in your children’s ears. 
  • Stay up to date on pediatrician visits so they can have their ears checked for fluid and/or ear wax build up. 

“Creating safe listening habits early on for your children will instill in them the importance of protecting their ears as they age,” Dr. Taylor said. “Hearing loss due to genetics and aging are completely out of our hands, but we do have control over the noise we subject our ears to.” 

Author Details
Lisa A. Goldstein has a Masters in Journalism from UC Berkeley, a digital hearing aid, a cochlear implant, and plenty of deaf-friendly communication equipment. She spends her days juggling life as a freelance journalist, wife, and mother of two in Pittsburgh, PA.