HEARING LOSS AND LISTENING FATIGUE IN CHILDREN

Children suffering from hearing loss can be at an incredible disadvantage when it comes to ordinary activities if the hearing loss is not recognized and helped. Just like adults, children with hearing loss suffer from listening fatigue, and while a typical child can run and play for hours on end, children with hearing loss often end up tired at school and wanting to nap when they get home. Because children are young and typically energetic, many adults may assume laziness, rudeness or lack of motivation and don’t think to consider hearing loss.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14.9 percent of children ages 6 to 19 in the United States suffer from low or high-frequency hearing loss of at least 16-decibel hearing level in one or both ears. In a survey on young adults ages 21-25 who had been identified with having hearing loss as children, the CDC further found:

  • 40 percent experienced at least one limitation in daily functioning.
  • 70 percent of the young adults with hearing loss without other related conditions (intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision loss) were employed.
  • Young adults with hearing loss and other related conditions were more likely to participate in risky and dangerous behaviors such as smoking or alcohol abuse.  

Listening is exhausting (see our first blog on listening fatigue), but unlike adults for whom tiredness is accepted, children often fear being honest with adults when they are tired because they don’t want to be thought of as lazy. This is especially an issue in the classroom when teachers either forget the child has a hearing loss or do not know or understand how the hearing loss affects the child. This can lead to the teacher mistakenly labeling the child as unmotivated. If the parents do not realize their child is having trouble hearing, they can end up making the child feel worse, when in reality, the child is actually trying harder than many of his or her classmates. 

Read Harrison’s story “The Lone Sounds of Life” originally posted on the Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Center, for an inside look at what it’s like to be a student with hearing loss.

Hearing aids can help alleviate some of the effort a child uses to listen and concentrate, and if a loss is detected early, hearing aids can help to preserve the hearing your child currently has. Early detection is important; if a child exhibits signs of hearing loss it is important to see a hearing care professional right away. 

Common signs of hearing loss in children:

  • Tiredness at school or after school and a desire to nap towards the late afternoon
  • Difficulties understanding what people are saying
  • Issues in academic performance
  • A tendency to increase the volume on the TV or to sit very close to the screen
  • Doesn’t reply when you call his or her name
  • Watches others around him or her to imitate what they are doing

At Starkey Hearing Technologies, we believe that better hearing means better living, and our incredible line of hearing aid products feature the latest in technological advancements and cosmetic design. If your child is exhibiting any of the above signs, let us help you help by helping you find a professional hearing provider near you.

By Sarah Bricker

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