Is It Important To Do More Than Offer School Hearing Testing?

Kids have not been hearing screened in schools since 2009. As a result, a way to protect of our children’s hearing was gone. Since some 50 million Americans have hearing loss, this really is worrying. Let’s review a number of important statistics on hearing loss to further highlight this issue.

About 84% of physicians do not regularly screen for hearing loss. And it has been found that only 80% of preschoolers pass their screening test, while 20% do not. Meanwhile, 72% of adults in senior centers fail the screening. Those with hearing loss report depression and social isolation. We already know that hearing loss and dementia are somehow interrelated. Hearing loss in one ear is found in one in five of us. In the over 12 years old population, 20% have hearing difficulties. Three in 1,000 children are born deaf or are hard of hearing. Also, 6 in 10 (ex)military personnel suffer from hearing loss, hearing injuries or tinnitus. Lastly, we know that 26 million people in this country have been exposed to loud noises through work or leisure and this has caused hearing problems.

Think about this – there are currently 3 million kids under the age of 18 with hearing loss. Since schools no longer offer the hearing screening tests, this demonstrates how important it is for parents to be able to recognize the signs of hearing problems. Since hearing problems have far-reaching effects, including cognitive and speech and language delay, this really is vital. In most cases, children are tested for hearing at birth and once again before they go to school. Unfortunately, these tests are regularly done poorly and they are not sufficient. This is also true due to the fact that temporary deafness is not uncommon in children, and often caused by issues with the ear. Unfortunately, it often takes a child falling behind in his school work for this to be picked up. Once it is identified and treated, children then have to work very hard at catching up, something that is almost always impossible. Since they also have to keep up with their regular school work, it is almost impossible to catch up. It is unlikely that school screening programs will be reintroduced. There are some charities who will organize one off screening events in schools, and if you know of one taking place, you should attend. This means that our role as parents now is to look after our child’s hearing, since the medical community is no longer doing it for us. It is vital, therefore, that you learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of deafness or hearing problems in children, information being available online.

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