What About the Children?

 

Post By: Olivia Hahn:

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great Easter filled with family and pastels... I know I did! Although I am a little disappointed that I no longer qualify to participate in egg hunts considering I'm 22 years old and weeks away from graduating college. 

On Sunday, I was watching my little cousins run in circles around the yard picking up neon plastic eggs, cracking them open, and genuinely feeling excitement and joy for the quarter or mini peanut butter cup that laid inside. My cousins are young at the ages of two, five, and eight. A perfect time in their lives to learn new things and expand their knowledge. Because they're so young and still have years of growing to do, their brains are considered 'plastic' giving them the ability to adapt and store loads of information. At the convention in Indianapolis Tina and I attended a few weeks back, I sat in on a lecture about our role as audiologists in the language development of children in this age range.

I've been slowly falling in love with the world of pediatric audiology. Something I swore I was never going to pursue. Patience has never been my best characteristic but I'm learning. So I've decided in leap into opportunities where I can learn more about children and what I could potentially do for them as a professional. In this lecture, I was reminded that the ear is simply a doorway to the actual process of hearing and understanding that occurs in the brain. Our ears don't hear, our brains do. Just like our eyes or nose are simply doorways to our vision and sense of smell that are actually performed in the brain. 

If we as doctors, teachers, and guardians can manipulate this concept in children at a young age, then we're setting the stage for many Easter egg hunts to come without complications or confusion. Things that you can do early on to prepare their language are make sure you are reading to your children and engaging in music with them in an active manner. Reading to kids at any age is extremely beneficial. Dance and sing to music rather than putting a song on the speaker and walking away. A number of these actions will begin to develop the child's language but for some children, the assistance of professionals will be needed to begin language development. As audiologists we are a part of this team.

If a child has a hearing loss in some form or another, that means there is something blocking that hearing doorway to their brain. Ear issues in children can be taken lightly and even be pushed to the side but we must realize that this is an issue in actively training the brain, not just in the mechanics of the ear! We need to be taking care of this NOW and not later. The sooner we establish a hearing loss in kids the sooner we can find a way to start opening that doorway and begin developing their language. 

Tina and I are more than happy to assist with this at HearCare Connection so don't be shy and come see us! At the end of your appointment, your kids will be leaving with a book of their choice to promote language development and you'll be leaving feeling comforted and more knowledgeable about what you can do to help your children! Let's train these kids together so they can enjoy the little things in life like egg hunts before they're too old and it's socially unacceptable for them to run around the yard looking for plastic eggs (like me). 

Take care and I'll see you next week! 

-Olivia