Do you have a child who is easily distracted and displays poor behavior during class? It could be a learning disability, but you should explore the possibility that your child has a hearing loss. Hearing loss among people of any age is more prevalent than you may think. Hearing loss, no matter what degree of loss, has a very negative impact on a person’s academic performance.
The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) found that approximately 15% of adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19, experience hearing loss at 16 decibels (dB) or more in one or both ears. About .1% experience severe hearing loss.
Hearing loss in one ear can significantly affect a child’s ability to learn. Studies have indicated that between 25% to 35% of children who have single-sided (unilateral) hearing loss are at risk of repeating at least one grade level.
The Link Between Hearing and Learning
Hearing loss that goes untreated can delay a child’s speech and language acquisition. This leads to learning problems and poor academic performance.
Poor academic performance is usually associated with carelessness and in some instances poor behavior. As a result, children who have hearing loss are usually believed to have ADD or ADHD.
Children with mild to moderate hearing loss, who do not get immediate intervention, are more likely to fall behind their healthy hearing peers by one to four grade levels.
It is very important that children who have a more severe case of hearing loss get help for their hearing loss. Children who do not receive treatment typically do not develop past a third-grade level of education.
What Causes the Gap in Education?
This gap is not due to a lack of intelligence. A child with hearing loss can perform just as well as a child with normal hearing abilities. The classroom environment may not adequately nurture a child who has hearing loss. Some teachers may not be informed about hearing loss or know how to properly accommodate a student with hearing loss.
For example, an instructor who turns their back on the students while teaching causes a student with hearing loss to miss what was said, because the student may rely on lip-reading and facial cues to understand. Changes that are stated orally by the instructor, an unfamiliar accent, or when someone speaks too quickly, can disrupt a hard of hearing student’s progress in learning.
The classroom environment and specific subjects can be problematic for a child with hearing loss. The ability to hear can impact every facet academic achievement, but the areas that are primarily affected are language theories. Idioms, language arts, vocabulary, and syntax are very difficult for a hard of hearing child to understand.
A child with hearing loss will most likely express confusion and frustration while learning, which leads to poor academic performance. They may have normal speech patterns when speaking, but a child with even mild hearing loss can still struggle to hear their instructor from a distance or if there’s too much background noise.
If a child has high-frequency hearing loss, they may not be able to hear consonant sounds, other children’s voices, or women’s voices.
Difficulty with Socializing
Not only can children with hearing loss struggle academically, but they can also struggle with socializing. The ability to effectively communicate with others is important in social interactions and good peer relationships. The inability to effectively communicate can lead to social isolation and depression.
A child with hearing loss may become excluded from their peers or might be unwilling to engage in group activities because they may be embarrassed. This leads to the student becoming socially withdrawn, which can cause depression. Children with hearing loss have been shown to have a slower pace of social maturity, which interferes with peer relationships.
Find a Solution with Hearing Aids and other Assistive Listening Devices
Hearing aids are very effective in language acquisition and development for children with hearing loss.
Children who receive hearing aids shortly after determining that they have hearing loss, can make a lot of progress at school and perform equally as well as the other students.
What can Teachers do to Help?
Teachers can help their hard of hearing students by learning as much about the students hearing loss as possible. They can learn how the student interprets information, what they are capable of, and their level of comprehension. Remember, it’s important to intervene early. Here are some signs to look for in the student:
A child who struggles in school, particularly one with a family history of hearing loss or has frequent ear infections, should get a hearing test by a professional.
If it is determined that the child does have hearing loss, swift and proper intervention is key for their best chance of academic and future career success.
If you or your child is experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a wide variety of hearing aid brands for people of all ages.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs, and re-fittings. We ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.