Signs of Hearing Problems in Toddlers and When to Visit a Pediatric Audiologist

Hearing is a critical tool for children as they learn, play, and develop. Some children are born with hearing impairments, while others may develop hearing loss over time. Unfortunately, even mild hearing loss can affect the way that a child speaks, hears, and understands language. Diagnosing a hearing problem in toddlers can be increasingly difficult, as they do not yet possess the skills to properly explain their symptoms. Here’s a look at some common signs of hearing loss in toddlers and when you should schedule a visit to a pediatric audiologist.

1. Does not respond to soft sounds

Toddlers with hearing loss may not respond when he hears soft sounds, such as a whisper or a low voice. When determining whether or not your child is hearing you or not, consider the environment. Is there excessive background noise or distractions? Also consider if your tot is “choosing” not to listen. Instead of asking whether or not your toddler can hear you, ask if he or she wants some ice cream.

2. Are they not startle when exposed to loud noises?

Most young kids will jump, cry, or in some way signify that they are startled when exposed to loud noises. If your toddler fails to react when a loud noise is present, it may be because he or she is unable to hear the noise or the noise is not as loud to him or her due to the hearing loss.

3. Cannot locate the source of sounds

Children usually have the natural ability to use their hearing to turn towards the source of a noise. If your tot hears a sound, he or she should turn their head in the general direction of that sound within seconds. If your toddler acts as if he or she didn’t hear the sound or looks around aimlessly, ensure of where the noise originated, some level of hearing loss may be present.

4. Only responds when facing you

Most toddlers have some communication skills, even if it’s a simple “yes” or “no,” or even a nod of the head up or down. Children with hearing loss may not respond to you when you speak unless he or she if facing towards you. You may also notice that your tot carefully watches the faces of people when speaking.

5. Displays symptoms of other health issues

If the hearing loss is caused by a cold, flu, sinus infection, or other health condition, other symptoms may point to hearing loss. Take note if your child pulls at his or her ears, presents with cold symptoms, suffers from chronic ear infections, or is unusually cranky.

If your toddler shows signs of hearing problems, it’s important to promptly schedule a visit with a pediatric audiologist for a full evaluation. A pediatric audiologist will run tests to determine whether or not your child is indeed experiencing hearing loss, and if so, to what degree. With a proper diagnosis, a treatment plan can then be created.

Imaging the Child – The Role of the Pediatric Radiologist

The practice of pediatric radiology in Utah is a growing field. These specialized doctors look at x-rays and images taken of children to determine if there is anything abnormal. For example, if a child is suffering from a terrible headache and his or her primary care doctor does not know what is causing these headaches, the doctor will send the child to an imaging center to have pictures taken of the child’s head. A pediatric radiologist will then scrutinize the images taken to see if they will reveal a cause of the child’s complaint.

Due to advances in technology, these doctors have the ability to practice their trade anywhere, from their home to a hospital. Many of these doctors choose to work from children’s hospitals where their patients can receive the specialized care that young children often require.

While at the children’s hospitals, these doctors do not practice in a typical setting filled with patients in beds. Instead, these practitioners work in a room filled with computer monitors. Images from around the hospital come into their computers allowing them to sit in one place and analyze image after image. These doctors then write a note of their findings so that the doctor in charge of the child’s care will know what the pediatric radiologist saw on the images.

Pediatric radiology is a subspecialty of both pediatrics and radiology. A doctor just out of medical school, wishing to pursue a career in this subspecialty could do his or her initial training, or residency, in pediatrics for three years and then pursue a fellowship, or specialized training, in radiology after the residency. Alternatively, doctors can take a residency in radiology initially and then specialize further in pediatrics later on.

Since the patient population of these practitioners is young, special considerations are often required in order to get proper images. Many of the new imaging techniques used can be scary for children, including MRI machines and CT scans. This equipment also requires the child to remain still for long periods of time so that the images obtained will be clear. Hospitals have come up with a variety of techniques to calm frightened children who are about to undergo such procedures. Many hospitals have brightly colored murals on the walls to stimulate the children. Additionally, rooms can contain toys and video games to keep the child entertained before the imaging scan.

During the actual image accrual process, a child must remain completely still. To achieve this state, sometimes the parents are utilized to calm the child. If that is not effective or if the child is in a great deal of pain and unable to remain still, sedation is occasionally used.

Pediatric Dental Care for Your Kid’s Teeth

Why is the care for my child’s teeth important?

Good pediatric dental care habits should begin before your child’s first tooth arrives. Gently wiping your child’s gums with a soft damp cloth after feedings can helps to prevent the buildup of bacteria. The use of a soft children’s toothbrush twice a day after your child’s first teeth arrive is recommended

When your child is preschool-age, you may want to start using fluoride toothpaste. Don’t cover the brush with toothpaste; a small amount is enough. Your child may tend to swallow most of the toothpaste. Swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause staining on their teeth.

Children’s cavities?

Cavities are holes that are formed when bacteria forms in your mouth. Bacteria uses the sugar in food to make acid. This acid erodes away at the teeth. Cavities are very common in children and the recommended tooth care can keep cavities from happening.

Your child may get cavities if he or she eats a lot of sugar based foods and drinks a lot of sweet drinks (fruit juice and punch, soda and sweetened drinks). Some children may have a higher tendency for cavities if they have the following risk factors:

• Has low birth rate or born prematurely.

• Teeth contain brown areas or white spots over time.

• Does not have regular checkups with their pediatric dentist. Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day and your child should see the pediatric dentist twice a year.

Have your dentist show you the right way to brush your child’s teeth.

Diet and the possible affect on your child’s teeth

Obviously, avoiding sweets and between-meal snacks is good advice. Avoiding potential cavities may be avoided by limiting sweet snacks and drinks between meals. Having meals and snacks at regular times is advised. Snacks, such as, fresh fruits and vegetables, and cheese and crackers also can help in the dental care for your child.

It has been noted that some baby bottles can create additional problems with your child’s dental health. When liquid from a bottle is in contact with the child’s teeth for a long time, the sugars may cause tooth decay. The baby’s teeth can develop cavities and become discolored. It is also advised, not to put a baby to bed with a bottle or walk around during the day with a bottle. You may want to teach your child to use a drinking cup as soon as it is acceptable.

Your child’ teeth and thumb-sucking

Sucking the thumb, fingers or a pacifier is common. It may be good to inquire of your pediatric dentist as to the individual child’s development regarding the teeth and their natural progress. This is typically not a problem so long as it is not prolonged. Again, this can be answered by your pediatric dentist at your child’s regular dental care checkup.

School Lunch Ideas

Although many of us from an older generation used to “brown bag” our lunches that doesn’t cut it anymore. Parents and children can easily overlook the necessity for healthy school lunches. Despite attempts to improve nutrition content the school cafeteria with its sloppy joes, pizza and heavily breaded chicken fingers may not be appropriate for overweight children or children with food and dietary sensitivities. It’s time to accept the fact that raising healthy children means they won’t be eating school cafeteria lunches, but instead will need to bring lunch from home. Here are some suggestions for how even the busiest parents can do it.

Packing:

Having the right containers will help a lot. Be sure to have an insulated lunch box so that food intended to be cold doesn’t end up warm by lunchtime and vice versa. Four small containers and a wide-mouth thermos will usually do the job. It’s a good idea to buy two sets of containers to avoid having to wash them each night.

Beverages:

It’s best to encourage your child to drink water using the wide-mouth thermos. Of course pop and soda should be avoided at all cost. Even juices are not necessarily of good nutrition. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that juice consumption contributes to cavities and gastrointestinal problems for children. Milk can be a common food allergy and create sensitivity for many children.

Entrees:

Source of protein like cubes of baked chicken, turkey or fish are great. You can serve these in small portions and use them randomly over the course of several weeks. Hard-boiled eggs can also be used. Beans kept in the thermos and served with organic tortilla chips are another idea as well as stew and chili.

Sandwiches:

Better sandwich choices include using whole-wheat bread with lots of grains and almond butter instead of peanut butter. Another alternative is a healthy wrap using whole-grain tortillas with baked turkey or chicken and lettuce, cucumbers, tomato and peppers.

Side Dishes:

Many kids don’t consider lunch complete without cookies or chips. These must be avoided. They should only be an occasional treat and not a staple. Side dishes may include tasty, crisp vegetables-the greener, the better. Fruit is also healthy but can be a major source of sugar. Try to serve just one fruit serving for every five servings of veggies.

Other Factors:

Organically grown foods have been shown to be more nutrient and vitamin dense than foods grown with pesticides. Although organic foods are more expensive the prices are now coming down even though you are paying more you’re getting more in return.

And no one knows better than your own child what they are going to eat so let them help you pack their lunches. Children like to participate this will help them learn what’s healthy and they will be more likely to enjoy their meals. Every Sunday have them help you choose the week’s menu and you both can begin pre-packing those options that can be frozen or stored for a few days.

A balanced diet is more than just a healthy recommendation. It is the building block of your child’s growth and well-being. Remember, it’s your responsibility and not the school cafeteria to provide them with the right food.