Leaving even a mild hearing loss in your child untreated is likely to create numerous problems. Parents, medical doctors and teachers all need to take responsibility for increasing the attention to the needs of hearing impaired children and adolescents.
A study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute in the United States found that most hearing impaired children receive insufficient help or treatment. Among the main reasons is a lack of or improper intervention by medical doctors, parents and teachers.
Among the most alarming findings in the study:
- Just 12 percent of hearing impaired children aged 18 years and younger use hearing aids.
- Three parents in four reported that their hearing impaired children's daily life was adversely affected in other aspects by their hearing loss. This included development of social skills, speech development and grades in school.
- Nearly one parent in three reported that their hearing impaired children shy away from wearing hearing aids out of embarrassment, fear of being stigmatized and fear of teasing by others.
- Four parents in 10 had been erroneously informed that their children's hearing loss was untreatable because it was limited to either high frequencies or low frequencies.
The study was conducted among 225 parents of hearing impaired children and adolescents up to the age of 21 years. None of the children were using hearing aids.
One common result of untreated hearing loss in children and adolescents is emotional and behavioural difficulties. This, in turn, may create barriers for the youngsters in their social interaction with their peers or adversely affect their educational progress.
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