We all know how much of an impact a teacher can have in the life of a child. Early identification of hearing loss can make a huge difference in the life of a child and have a significant impact on their studies.
Many children with hearing loss display similar problems as those kids who have a learning disability or behavioral problems. Most children that have hearing loss can still hear but they are unable to understand the conversation because they have what is known as high frequency hearing loss. When we lose our hearing we may not loose it all, some frequency ranges of our hearing may be gone while others remain normal.
What is considered hearing loss? Hearing loss is when an individual has trouble hearing and understanding what is said. You may notice that people need to repeat themselves around that person. Hearing loss has a number of different causes.
Children that suffer from respiratory issues, diabetes, renal problems, cancer, or other syndrome generally have a higher risk of hearing loss. Hearing loss may be a result of ear infections, high fever, injury, (slap on the ear or face) malfunction, deterioration of the hearing mechanism due to ototoxic medication, or exposure to excessive loud noise. Some hearing loss is caused by lack of oxygen during birth, a disease or a particular syndrome (Downs Syndrome). Even a small hearing loss has an impact on the quality of life and needs to be addressed.
FACT: A mild hearing loss can cause a child to miss as much as 50% of classroom discussion.
How do you know that a child has hearing loss? Look for these signs:
- Lower than expected academic achievement
- Lack of attention
- Requires constant repetition
- Requires visual information in order to understand speech
- Responds inappropriately to questions
- Problems with articulation or other speech difficulties
- Exhibits fatigue
- Poor view of him or herself
- Behavioral problems
- Misunderstands directions or instructions
- Lack of participation in the classroom
- Watching other pupils to see what they are doing
- Constant ear infections (excessive bad colds, sinus problems, bad allergies)
- Constant ear pain
Students can get a screening at the Nurses office or their pediatrician’s office, but it is recommended that a comprehensive hearing test be done by a certified Audiologist. Proper equipment and training is necessary to identify the various types of hearing loss that is sometimes missed by nurses or even pediatricians.