Paediatric literature demonstrates that even children with "minimal" hearing loss are at risk academically compared to their normal hearing peers. If parents and school teachers do not take children with reduced hearing into consideration, it can lead to social, emotional and learning difficulties for the child in the long term, warns the American Better-Hearing Institute (BHI).
Up to 90% of a young child's knowledge is attributed to incidental reception of conversations around him or her. Hearing loss of any type or degree in a child can therefore present a barrier to the child's ability to overhear and to learn from the environment, as well as miss a significant portion of classroom instruction.
With that in mind, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) in the U.S. encourages classroom teachers to be alert to the needs of children with unaddressed hearing loss, which is often overlooked or attributed to other learning and behaviour-related issues, such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD).
Seek additional testing
At least 50% of parents don't seek additional professional testing when their infant fails an initial hearing screening, and according to three out of four parents of hearing impaired children, the hearing loss leaves children vulnerable to other problems.
"Children need to be able to hear, not just in the classroom, but also because hearing affects language competence, cognitive development, social and emotional well-being, and academic achievement" says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, executive director of BHI.
Healthy listening environments
â€œToo many children with hearing loss aren't getting adequate help and are being put at riskâ€, says Sergei Kochkin. â€œEducators, paediatricians, and other healthcare providers underestimate the impact of mild hearing loss.â€
BHI urges schools to incorporate hearing health education into the curriculum and to create a healthy listening environment in the classroom.
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