Posts made in January, 2016

Infant Hearing Loss: Signs To Look For From Birth To 12 Months

After nine months of anticipation and planning, your bundle of joy has finally made their way into the world. Over the next year, you will watch your child grow and become the independent person that they are. An important aspect of your child’s development throughout this first year will be their hearing. Below is an overview of your child’s hearing milestones by age and signs you should watch out for that might indicate hearing loss.

Newborn

When it comes to newborns, it can be particularly difficult to determine whether hearing loss is present or not. This is why hearing exams are performed after birth, but even then, the test may not catch the hearing loss, or it may worsen after the test has been performed.

The main symptom that parents of newborns should watch for is failure to startle when a loud noise occurs nearby. If your newborn doesn’t startle, that doesn’t mean that hearing loss is present, but it does mean that you should keep an eye on them as they age and look for further symptoms, such as the ones mentioned below.

3 Months

At three months of age, your baby has really begun to blossom into an interactive and fun little being. At this time, your baby will begin to smile and track objects, and can even begin mimicking facial expressions and noises.

At this stage in your child’s hearing development, it’s not unusual that they don’t look towards voices or seem to hear you calling them. Your baby’s senses are coming together and they may be overwhelmed by everything going on around them, so if they don’t look towards your voice or keep attention on you when you’re talking to them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t hear.

6 Months

At this point in your child’s development, it has become much easier for them to differentiate noises and determine where they’re coming from. This means your child will focus on sources of noise.

It’s much easier at this age for parents to determine whether their child is struggling to hear. If you notice that your child only favors certain pitches (high-pitched voices and toys) or doesn’t respond appropriately to being called or startled, it’s time to request a hearing evaluation from your child’s pediatrician.

9 Months

By nine months of age, your child’s comprehension should have taken off. Not only can your child differentiate voices and babble different sounds, but now they can even associate certain actions with certain sounds, such as waving when someone says “hi” or “bye.”

Your child should also begin to have “conversations” with you – your child will babble enthusiastically in response to being talked to and may even seem to wait until you’ve stopped talking to begin their babbling. At this stage, if your child doesn’t look towards voices or seem enthused with loud toys, such as rattles or sound pads, this may indicate a hearing difference and warrants further investigation by a pediatric audiologist.

12 Months

All children develop at different rates, but there are certain things your newly-turned one-year old should be doing.

At this age, your child’s babbles will start to become coherent sounds. Your child may have already begun to use certain sounds for certain things, such as saying “mama” to get his mother’s attention. Simple instructions, such as “sit down” or “come here, please” should be easily understood (though, not always followed). Even if your child seems to hear you and hearing loss isn’t suspected, your child’s pediatrician may refer them to a hearing specialist if the above milestones aren’t being met. Your child may be a late bloomer, or they may be compensating for their hearing loss which can make it appear as if their hearing is fine.

To learn more about hearing loss and which milestones your child should be meeting at every stage of development, consult with your child’s pediatrician or a company like The Hearing Clinic

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Testing for Food Allergies and How to Manage Them

You notice that you develop a mild headache soon after you eat. Sometimes it’s accompanied by an upset stomach. These can be signs of a food allergy. A visit to an allergy physician will narrow down the problem foods so you can avoid them and find substitutes. Here is what you need to know about food allergies and how to stop those annoying headaches.

A Small Group of Foods Cause People Big Problems

Most food allergies are due to just a few types of foods, which include:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy beans
  • Groundnuts, such as peanuts
  • Tree nuts, such as almonds

If you’re allergic to one of these foods, then you’ll also have a reaction to products containing those foods. This can be a challenge because the use of specific foods may not be listed in an ingredients label. For example, peanuts are used as a thickener for sauces but may not appear on a restaurant menu with the entree.

You may also have a reaction to some form of these foods but not another. People who are allergic to a specific protein in cow’s milk may not have a reaction to the protein in goat’s milk.

Testing for Food Allergies

An allergist uses two tests to determine which foods you have a reaction to. Each test gives a little different information, so both may be done to help your doctor with the diagnosis.

Skin test – This test is done by placing a drop of liquid containing a specific food on your skin. The skin is then pricked under the liquid drop. If you have a reaction, it will occur in just a few minutes. The reaction can be a small reddened area on the skin or a rash that begins to itch. This is an easy test to do and your doctor can test for several food allergies at once.

Blood test – Your blood can be tested for the presence of an antigen released by your immune system in response to a specific food. The presence of the antigen indicates that you’ve been exposed to a food allergen, but the test won’t help your doctor to know which food. If you have a skin condition that prevents the use of the skin test, then the blood test is the only alternative.

Your doctor may have you do a challenge test next. This will narrow down the results to a specific food. To do this test, the doctor will have you eat a very small portion of a food that they suspect causes you to have a reaction. You’ll increase the amount of the food you consume over a number of days until you begin to have symptoms. This tells you which foods you have a reaction to and how much you have to eat to have symptoms.

Treating Food Allergies

Food allergies cannot be cured, but knowing which foods you react to helps you limit them in your diet or avoid them altogether. This is where the challenge test is helpful. You may discover that while you have a dairy allergy, you can eat small portions of cheese without a problem.

You can also try substituting foods for something to which you won’t have a reaction. For example:

  • If you’re allergic to eggs, it may be the protein in the yolk that causes the problems so you can try eating just the egg white.
  • If you’re allergic to wheat, it’s likely the gluten is the problem, so you can try a gluten-free flour or other flours such as almond or rice.

Once you know the precise foods you’re allergic to, you can adjust your diet to get rid of those headaches and enjoy eating again.

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