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How Hearing Loss in Children Affects School Attendance

Think back to your childhood school days. Did you love going to school, or did you attempt to manufacture excuses that would allow you to stay home from school?
Either way, it is likely that you attended school more days than not. And whether you enjoyed school or not, your early education played a big role in your future educational success and social life, as well as your success in a career.
Recently, researchers in Australia discovered one factor that can cause students to miss more school and thus affect their education: hearing loss. Researchers conducted the study in Northern Territory (NT) of Australia and specifically focused on the Year One school attendance of Aboriginal children.
In the study, researchers compared Year One attendance among Aboriginal children with normal hearing to that of the children with preventable hearing impairment. The study considered both unilateral hearing loss as well as bilateral hearing impairment. More than a third (36.3 percent) of the children surveyed had bilateral hearing loss, while over half (55.1 percent) had either unilateral or bilateral hearing loss.
Researchers found that no matter the type or severity of hearing loss, the children with impaired hearing attended fewer school days than their peers with normal hearing. As noted, this study focused on children with preventable hearing loss. The most common cause of hearing loss among these children is otitis media or an infection of the middle ear.
As part of their conclusions from the study, the researchers suggest “regular surveillance” of the children, both regarding the infection and their hearing ability. They recommend screening for hearing loss, and perhaps infection as well, during early childhood when the children enter preschool and their first year of full-time education. The study particularly recommended these measures for Aboriginal children who live in more remote areas, such as those studied in NT.
While this study was conducted in Australia and focused on the case of Aboriginal children, the findings and conclusions can be applied to children worldwide. Otitis media and other illnesses that result in preventable hearing loss are not isolated to NT. It can also be beneficial for children to be screened for hearing loss in early childhood and in school in order to identify hearing loss at an early stage and provide treatment at the earliest time possible.
By identifying and treating hearing loss, as well as preventing hearing loss when possible, these children will have a greater opportunity for success in school, education, their social lives, and their careers. As the study found that students with normal hearing were less likely to miss school days, they were present for more learning. School sets up a child for success, and even early education is important and formative.
If you believe that your child may be suffering from hearing loss, we encourage you to contact our hearing practice today. We are here to care for you and your family.

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How to Better Include Children with Hearing Loss in Team Sports

Are you aware of any professional athletes with hearing loss? You may have heard of Derrick Coleman, who was the first legally deaf offensive player in the NFL. Or perhaps you watched a baseball game played by Curtis Pride, who, in 1993, was the first legally deaf player in the MLB in over 50 years.
While these athletes and others are inspiring in how they have overcome obstacles in order to succeed, the number of well-known athletes with hearing loss is sadly few. This is due at least in part to the difficulties players with hearing loss often encounter while participating in sports.
Imagine for a moment the challenges you might encounter in team sports if you are deaf or hard of hearing. You may not be able to hear the referee’s whistle to indicate that play should start or stop. You may also miss other important signals, such as the start of a race. You may not be able to understand what your coach tells you in a huddle or from the sidelines. You may not be able to effectively communicate with your teammates.
Due to these difficulties and others, children with hearing loss are often left out of team sports, or they may eventually give up and withdraw because of the challenges these sports present. This can be damaging to the child’s self-confidence, friendships, social activity, physical health, and overall development.
If you have a child with hearing loss or if you coach a team sport, it is important to know how children with hearing loss can be better included. Here are a few tips to help you include your child with hearing loss in team sports:
If you have a child with hearing loss:

  • Communicate with your child’s coach about your child’s needs and what might be most helpful to your child.
  • Ask whether trained support staff for children with sensory challenges are available. While support staff may not be available for the entire league, there may be sufficient resources to provide support staff for one or two teams.
  • Show your child’s coach or the team’s support staff how your child’s hearing device works.
  • Consider becoming a coach for your child’s team. Become involved in your child’s school sports by attending athletic department meetings and encouraging the coaches to become better educated on how to assist players with differing needs.

If you are coaching a team that includes one or more children with hearing loss:

  • Reach out to parents and ask how you can best support their child. Express a willingness to learn.
  • Understand that each situation is different. A solution that works for one child with hearing loss may not work for another. Keep in mind that other needs may be present on the team as well, such as children with attention deficit disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and more.
  • Encourage team members to ask questions to learn how to better support the player with hearing loss. Promote respectful conversations about their challenges and solutions.
  • Face the players when you speak to them.
  • If you show a video, especially one with poor audio, provide a transcript.
  • When you discuss plays on the drawing board, add clear text labels.
  • After reviewing a game or discussing other important information, provide a written note detailing what you discussed

These simple tips can play a big role in making team sports an easier and more enjoyable experience for all children.
To learn more about how to accommodate and advocate for children with hearing loss, we welcome you to contact our hearing practice today. We are eager to assist you!

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Behavior Management In Children With Hearing Loss

Children Behavioral Disorders

Hearing loss is a surprisingly prevalent issue among children, but did you know that it’s also been linked to behavioral disorders? According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss affects about 32 million young people around the world, about 60% of whom have preventable hearing loss.
For those children who have hearing loss, especially those for whom hearing loss goes untreated, new research is showing us that they may also be at risk for developing a number of different behavioral disorders. Even for children whose hearing loss is treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants, behavioral disorders remain a significant barrier to their social and educational development.
The Research
According to researchers at the University of Kentucky, there is a substantial link between childhood hearing loss and behavioral disorders. The researchers arrived at this conclusion by reviewing 36 different studies that looked at this interesting connection between childhood hearing loss and behavioral disorders.
These studies used a wide variety of different tools to asses behavioral issues and included children of a multitude of different age groups and backgrounds, as well as different types and levels of hearing loss. The being said, most of the studies assessed a child’s behavior using metrics known as the Child Behavior Checklist, the Vineland Behavior Adaptive Scale, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
Moreover, a substantial proportion of the studies (approximately one-third) looked at children with permanent hearing loss that was actively being treated by hearing aids or cochlear implants. This means that the studies also accounted for children whose hearing loss was being managed and not just those with untreated hearing loss. Thus, the findings of this research are applicable for all young people with hearing loss, regardless of whether or not it’s actually being treated.
Ultimately, the research review found that there was evidence that strongly suggests there is a link between hearing loss in children and behavioral disorders. First and foremost, the research shows that there is evidence that children with hearing loss are internalizing their behavioral disorders in a number of ways, including emotional and social withdrawal, symptoms of depression, low self-esteem, and symptoms of anxiety.
Moreover, the researchers found that even for children with treated hearing loss, these internalized behaviors did not go away. However, the researchers did note that children with treated hearing loss exhibited fewer behaviors typical of externalized behavioral disorders, including destructive, defiant, and impulsive actions.
In addition to this correlation between hearing loss in children and behavioral disorders, the research also found that young people with hearing loss are less likely to obtain mental health services that could help them overcome their behavioral issues. Although it is unclear whether or not this lack of mental health services for children with hearing loss is due to financial, time, or other constraints, the researchers argue that these services are critical for helping children with hearing a loss to work through their behavioral issues.
Moving Forward
While the research doesn’t suggest that every child with hearing loss will have a behavioral disorder, it does identify a link between the two conditions. Thus, moving forward, more research on how to help these young people, not only with their hearing loss but with their behavioral issues, is of the utmost importance. The research shows that understanding the impact of hearing loss on behavioral health in children is an important focal point in which families, educators, and medical professionals can concentrate on to best serve the needs of these young people.