We've been reading in the news about all the people who have had hearing loss from the bombs at the Boston Marathon. Some of them didn't go to the doctor until days later, when they realized that they just weren't hearing right.
The thing is, kids might not realize that.
That's what the ear specialists at Boston Children's Hospital, where I work, are worried about. Children, especially small children, may not understand what's going on when they lose hearing. And they may not be able to explain what it is they are experiencing.
So--if your child was within about 300 feet of either blast (especially if not shielded by a building), if your child was with you and either of you needed any medical care afterward or if your child has any signs of a hearing problem, talk to your doctor about getting an ear and hearing check.
Signs of a problem could include:
- Ear pain (and obviously any bleeding or fluid coming out of the ear)
- Ringing in the ears (a younger child may complain of hearing something)
- Not responding normally when spoken to
- Not paying attention
- Asking people to repeat what they say
- Turning up the volume on things like the TV
Really young children might be more clingy or irritable than usual, and be less interactive.
Some ear problems from the blast may get better by themselves--but some may need treatment, and if there is a permanent hearing loss, the sooner you know, the better--hearing loss can cause lots of problems for children. So talk to your doctor if you have any worries at all. The Audiology department at Boston Children's offers hearing tests in various locations in the Boston area--you can call 617-355-6461 for more information.
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