Did you know that almost 15% of children between ages six and nineteen have low or high-frequency hearing loss? Whether it’s genetics, injuries or something else, this hearing loss can have wide-ranging effects on kids as they grow.
New research out of Australia shows that some of those effects may often go unseen even as they deeply impact kids’ development.
The effects of hearing loss on kids
There is no doubt that hearing loss, even a mild hearing loss, can affect kids in many ways. It has been linked to such issues as:
- Delays in speech and vocabulary
- Limited academic achievement
- Delayed or limited social development
- Behavioral problems
Experts stress that early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment including, both the physical side of hearing loss management such hearing aids and the mental and emotional side such as support for the child and family, are key to reducing the risk of language delays, social isolation, and similar issues that are now coming to light.
Hearing loss and school attendance
If you have kids in your life, you know that they don’t always want to go to school. In fact, as a child, you may not have always wanted to go to school. While some of that may be natural, hearing loss may play a significant role in school attendance. What we know is that school attendance is not only linked to stronger academic performance but also behavior issues.
A recent study in Australia found that kids in the study group, Aboriginal children in the NT, who had any level of hearing impairment missed school more than children with normal hearing. Of the children surveyed, over one third had bilateral hearing loss, and over half had unilateral or bilateral hearing loss.
While this is a small group, experts believe the findings translate to any child.
There is no doubt that more research is needed into exactly why hearing loss and school attendance are linked. It’s not a stretch to theorize that a child with hearing loss may experience more frustration in school, both in the classroom and forging social connections with classmates. Experts also believe that self-esteem can be affected. These and similar reasons may make kids less inclined to go to school.
What this means
For any parent, this means it’s crucial to schedule regular hearing evaluations and watch for signs of hearing loss. If your child seems distracted, is experiencing speech or language delays, or appears not to be hearing everything you or their teacher is saying, it may be time to see a hearing healthcare professional. Depending on the amount and type of hearing loss, your child’s provider may recommend speech therapy, assistive listening devices, hearing aids, or even a cochlear implant. These solutions will help support your child’s speech and social development while fostering school attendance and academic success.
Help your child thrive in school and out. Early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference! If you believe your child is affected by hearing loss, contact our office to schedule a hearing evaluation.