Children | Youth – Hearing Loss

Hearing health begins with screening for hearing loss at birth. The Hearing Foundation of Canada (THFC) demonstrates its commitment to this by promoting universal newborn hearing screening programs in all provinces.

The first three years of a child’s life are key to their lifelong communication capabilities, and recognizing their hearing ability is integral to their learning. THFC’s Baby Communications Checklist provides parents with a way to monitor and protect their child’s hearing. As a charter member of the National Coalition on Noisy Toys, THFC also alerts parents to the potential harm caused by noisy toys through public education and brochures.

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As children move towards adolescence, developing healthy hearing habits is crucial to protecting their future hearing. THFC’S award-winning elementary school program: Sound Sense: Save Your Hearing for the Music/ Oui à l’ouie: ménagez vos oreilles pour la musique!, is presented to students in grades five and six.

Studies have suggested that some population groups are at greater risk for harmful effects of noise. These groups include young children. There is sufficient scientific evidence that excessive noise exposure can induce hearing impairment, as well as psycho-social effects such as annoyance, stress-related health effects.

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More than 2,000 children are born with a hearing loss in Canada every year, making it one of our country’s most common birth defects for which screening is available. Approximately six in every thousand babies born in Canada have some degree of hearing loss, including profound deafness.

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Just as your baby’s height and weight increase with each passing day, so does your child’s ability to communicate. The Hearing Foundation of Canada (THFC) has produced a unique Baby’s Communication Checklist (BCC), which allows you to monitor your baby’s communication progress.

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Many popular toys that are readily available in stores emit noise levels that could be harmful to a young child’s hearing, particularly because their bodies are still developing. The risk depends on the loudness of the noise level and how long the child is exposed to it. In general, if you have to raise your voice above the noise level to be heard, the sound is too loud.

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Several years ago, THFC staff and researchers were becoming increasingly concerned about the rising incidence of noise-induced hearing loss in young people. After reviewing the emerging consensus in a range of international research and examining approaches that other jurisdictions had taken to the issue, THFC developed a new and innovative bilingual program called Sound Sense.

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