Poor quality of life for children with minor hearing loss
Children with mild hearing loss suffer a greater loss in their quality of life than children of the same age with greater hearing loss, or so their parents believe.
Australian researchers measured the physical and psychological quality of life among 83 7-8 year-old children with congenital hearing loss. Parents of the children responded to questions about the impact of their children’s hearing loss on the children’s daily life.
The parents believed that the severity of the hearing loss was the greatest determinant of quality of life, but the study indicated that milder losses were associated with poorer parent-reported quality of life.
Effects of mild hearing loss often overlooked
The researchers believe that this apparent contradiction may be due to the perceptions and expectations among parents of mildly hearing impaired children. These parents may perceive their children’s behavioural, learning and other problems as greater than the problems of more severely hearing impaired children, as perceived by their respective parents.
Parents of children with mild hearing loss often expect that their children will be able to get along just like normal hearing children, whereas parents of children with greater hearing loss are more inclined to accept that their children have problems and expect that they will be disadvantaged in comparison with normal hearing children.
The researchers behind the study recommend that children with mild hearing loss receive the same level of attention as children with greater hearing loss. Lower priority attention results in the same quality of life decline for children with mild hearing loss as is usually associated with children with greater hearing loss.
Source: Parent-reported health-related quality of life in children with congenital hearing loss: a population study. Ambulatory Pediatrics