Protecting, preserving, promoting better hearing
Did you know that hearing loss among American youth goes largely unaddressed? Most of them don’t get adequate treatment for their condition, according to a news report regarding a Better Hearing Institute survey of more than 200 parents with hearing-impaired children.
Estimates on childhood hearing loss vary across different studies, but the rate may be as many as 5 per 1,000 children ages 3 to 17, according to a Centers for Disease Control national survey.
In the Better Hearing Institute study, researchers surveyed 225 parents with children up to age 21 who had some form of hearing loss, per a 2009 story published on the Hearing Review website. The children and adolescents reportedly did not use hearing aids.
Some of the study’s findings, according to the published story:
- “Just 12 percent of children aged 18 years and younger who have a hearing impairment use hearing aids. …
- “Three parents in four reported that their hearing-impaired children’s daily life was adversely affected in other aspects by their hearing loss, including development of social skills, speech development, and grades in school. …
- “Four parents in 10 had been erroneously informed that their children’s hearing loss was untreatable because it was limited to either high frequencies or low frequencies.”
Untreated hearing loss can affect not only children’s ability to communicate effectively but also their emotional, social, and educational development, making comprehensive hearing health care an important part of their long-term success.
Per the article, the institute cited “a lack of or improper intervention by medical doctors, parents, and teachers” as one of the key reasons for insufficient addressing of hearing-loss issues.
What can you do? Schedule regular hearing checkups for your kids — just as you would for their eyes and teeth — and recognize some of the signs of possible hearing loss:
- Problems understanding what’s being said
- Frequent responses of “Huh?” or “What?”
- Complaints of noise or earaches
- Failing grades or reports that your child doesn’t respond in class
- A gut feeling that something’s off with your child’s hearing