Student with hearing loss doing schoolworkIs your student not living up to expectations in the classroom?

Are they disruptive to the class, not focused on their work or getting poor grades?

Although it’s often overlooked as a cause for these issues, hearing loss may shoulder some of the blame. Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte reminds you that even mild levels of hearing impairment can negatively impact academic performance.

Hearing loss in children is more common than most realize: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15% of children ages 6-19 have low- or high-frequency hearing loss of at least a 16-decibel level in one (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). Studies have found that up to 35% of youth with even unilateral hearing loss are at risk of failing a grade level in school.

Hearing loss may play a role if your child displays any of the following:

  • Difficulty following directions
  • Lack of focus
  • Daydreaming
  • Speech problems

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association stresses the importance of getting treatment, reporting that students with mild to moderate hearing loss who do not receive intervention typically fall behind their peers by one to four grade levels. Students with more severe hearing loss that goes untreated typically do not progress beyond third-grade levels of achievement.

The Link Between Hearing and Learning

Being able to hear properly is a significant component of communication, speech and language development. Difficulty hearing can stunt learning progress, resulting in poor academic and behavioral marks.

School subjects centering around language concepts may be most difficult for students with hearing loss. Imagine trying to grasp language assignments when you may be unable to hear high-frequency consonants such as the ch, f, k, p, s, sh, t and th sounds.

Further, being an active part of social groups is more difficult with hearing loss. Being unable to communicate properly can be frustrating and confusing to the child with hearing loss and their peers, leading to feelings of isolation and sadness. These children often lag behind their hearing peers in social maturation, causing them to feel left out.

Fortunately, studies have shown that if treated early, hearing loss doesn’t have to define a child’s academic and social experience. A 2015 study reported that youth with severe hearing loss typically scored lower than their peers with typical hearing, although the hearing-impaired children with bilateral cochlear implants and greater parental involvement in their treatment had improved results.

If you believe your child may have hearing loss, call Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte at 704-412-7975 or contact us online.

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