Hearing Loss in Kids: The Emma Attitude

SAN ANTONIO, Texas. (KFSN) -- Hearing loss in kids may go undiagnosed for a long time. But there are warning signs parents should pay attention to and extra support they may need to provide.

Emma Rudkin sings and plays the guitar and this defies all odds, because Emma is deaf.

Laurie Baggs, Audiologist from San Antonio told Ivanhoe, "I don't know any other way to describe it, except, it's miraculous."

A former beauty pageant winner and current college student, Emma lost her hearing around the age of three. An alert Pre-K teacher saw Emma wasn't responding to instructions, which is an important red flag every parent should know.

Baggs said, "Children can still develop hearing loss even though they pass a newborn hearing screen, so you still need to look for signs that they're babbling, that they're repeating what you say. When you give them a set of instructions that they acknowledge you and that they follow through on what you say."

When a loss of hearing is detected, medical help is not all a child needs. "For children, even a mild hearing loss Submitneeds to be aided," Baggs explained.

Their surroundings make a difference also. Baggs told Ivanhoe, "Anyway that you can provide stimulation whether that's visual or whether that's oral, I think is important."

And a third critical component is emotional support. Dawn Dabbs' 12-year-old daughter, Erin has hearing loss.

"I think just try to encourage them that we're all special and we all have our challenges," Dabbs told Ivanhoe.

Advice Emma is passing along. "This is going to be small in the big scheme of life. It's something that you're lacking in but I promise there are bigger things that you are going to gain," she said.

Newborns and elementary age school children are routinely given hearing screens. If a child needs hearing aids, there are state and non-profit agencies that in many cases can help provide those at low or no cost. The Hearing Loss Association of America estimates 30 school children out of 1,000 has a hearing loss.

For more information, contact:

Lorrie Baggs
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