Recent research revealed that children with mild bilateral hearing loss (defined as having hearing threshold in between 26-40 dB ), if not diagnosed and intervened early, would miss up to 50% of speech sounds which may result in significant communication and learning difficulties, lack of energy and shorter attention span. Affected children may also have behavioural problems and poor self-esteem. These children are often misunderstood as not paying attention in class as they cannot hear instructions clearly. The impact of mild hearing loss on children should not be overlooked and appropriate intervention would help to alleviate the adverse impact.
The research assessed 35 children aged 6-8, of whom 83% (29) suffered significant language impairment or speech delay; about half of the children (17) said that they had difficulties in listening during classes and one-third of them had difficulties in learning and coping with school environment. None of them found it easy to listen in class. Over 85% of the teachers (30) observed the listening problem of these students, and that the problem affected their academic performance, communication and attention span, while the impact on their class participation and behaviour in school is relatively smaller. Most parents of the affected children thought their kids could hear almost all the words with occasional misunderstanding; over 40% of the parents observed that their kids had to pay extra effort to listen and understand.
Preliminary findings of the research supported that children with mild bilateral hearing loss could benefit from appropriate intervention at schools. As remarked by the teachers, the students’ academic performance, concentration and communication were improved after four months of intervention.
If you’re worried about you or your child’s hearing contact your local Hidden Hearing branch. Hidden Hearing offers free hearing tests at its 60 branches nationwide. To book a test Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit http://www.hiddenhearing.ie.