Hearing difficulties are very common for individuals with Down syndrome. Some problems with hearing will be temporary whilst others can continue throughout life. It is for this reason that it is recommended that hearing should be monitored. Good hearing ability has an impact on optimising development and speech and also interaction with others.
Types of hearing Loss (deafness)
Conductive hearing loss (CHL):
This is the most common type of hearing loss associated with Down syndrome. Individuals with Down syndrome tend to have narrow ear canals that are also hour glass shaped. This can lead to a build up of wax and fluid in the middle ear. Loss of hearing as a result of glue ear is treatable and a consultation with your doctor will allow for discussion of your options.
Sensory Neural hearing loss (SNHL):
This occurs when there is a problem with the transmission of sound in the inner ear or with the auditory nerve and the cochlea. There are surgical treatments available and also hearing aid options to help with this type of hearing loss.
Mixed Hearing Loss (MHL)
Is a combination of sensory-neural hearing loss and Conductive hearing loss.
The follow video explains in detail the structure and function of the ear and also the hearing problems that can occur