01 October 2015

Children, teenagers and hearing loss

Children with hearing loss may face challenges in school and when leaving school, surveys in the UK find. However, early treatment of hearing loss helps children’s development, findings from Australia show. At the same time the World Health Organization, WHO, says that more and more teenagers may damage their hearing and risk getting a hearing loss at an early age due to loud music exposure that can be harmful to their hearing.

May be overlooked in school

Scottish children with mild hearing loss are not getting the support they need. Because they have better language skills than profoundly deaf children, they tend to be overlooked.

Children who suffer from mild and moderate hearing loss are not given enough support in school, which has negative effects on their academic achievements, a study from Edinburgh University in Scotland has found.

Difficulties when leaving school

Because of their hearing loss, young people in Northern Ireland experience many barriers in the transition from school to further education or employment, a UK study shows.

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Young people in Northern Ireland who are hard of hearing meet significant difficulties in the shift from school to further and higher education, training or employment. Among these challenges are gaps in information and support, lack of confidence and a lack of awareness of hearing loss.

The study was conducted from the experiences of 23 hard of hearing Northern Irish young people. The young people were aged 16-24 and from different educational backgrounds.

Early treatment improves children’s development

Early hearing-aid fitting or cochlear implementation for babies with hearing loss has a positive effect on their future learning.

An Australian long-term study has found evidence that fitting hearing aids by six months or cochlear implants by 12 months benefits a child’s development.

The study has followed 450 Australian children with hearing loss. From birth and through school, the children’s long-term speech, language, psycho-social and educational outcomes have been measured and compared.

Teenagers risk their hearing

More than one billion people are at risk of damaging their hearing due to unsafe listening practices, according to the World Health Organization.

The organization estimates in a report that nearly 50% of all people aged 12 to 35 who live in middle- and high-income countries are exposed to unsafe levels of noise from the use of personal audio devices. Furthermore, another 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of noise at concert venues, night clubs etc.

In the US, a survey has found that a large number of American teenagers show signs of hearing loss and almost all American teens engage in activities that they know can be harmful to their hearing.


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