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Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014

Identifying Hearing Loss in At Risk Teens

Hearing is among the one aspect of health that has the greatest impact on whole body health. It affects both mental and physical aspects. And, yet, there is little attention paid to this expanding condition, school hearing tests are inadequate, and routine hearing tests are often not sought out by parents, especially parents of older children.

Though hearing loss is increasing in teens, for some time the American Academy of Pediatrics has supported hearing health questionnaires, not an actual hearing test, that are given to at risk youths. If these questionnaires are found alarming, the AAP then recommends a follow-up with a hearing test. Recent Research has found, however, that the use of this method leaves many teens with hearing loss undiagnosed.

Not only is the questionnaire ineffective in diagnosing teens, but the subsequent in school hearing test is also inadequate. The questionnaire fails to take into account the unique minds of teenagers. Most parents would not need a study to tell them that teens are not good at self-reporting injury or problems. And the school hearing tests, at leasts those looked at in the state of Pennsylvania, only had a sensitivity rating of 13 percent. This means that many students with hearing loss are going undiagnosed, setting them up for problems in school and with self-esteem.

One in five kids between the ages of 12 and 19 have hearing loss. Most commonly they have noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). This is increasing with the use of earbuds and our increasingly loud environments. As more results from studies begin to show this increase and the necessity of good hearing health, the standards for hearing care will have to change. According to an article on Science Daily,"Students with mild hearing loss are more likely to repeat a grade, and it's estimated that people with hearing loss lose between $220,000 and $440,000 in earnings over a lifetime."

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. "Screening questions fail to identify teens at risk for hearing loss." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141021125630.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

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