International research has shown that forty percent of students with learning disabilities are likely to have hearing loss. Unfortunately, these students are also unlikely to recognize the condition, compounding a problem and creating a lifetime of difficulty.
Though forty percent of people with a learning disability were recently found in one study to also have a hearing loss, the recognition of hearing loss within this group goes largely unrecognized. In fact, often children are diagnosed with a hyper activity disorder such as ADD rather than being accurately diagnosed with hearing loss. The reason for this misdiagnoses is that testing for hearing by a professional in a health setting designed to diagnose such conditions are not common. Most parents do not have their children tested for hearing difficulties. Thus hearing loss often relies on self-referral that never happens, because students and parents remain unaware of the problem.
According to an article on Science Daily, "Healthcare professionals rely on family carers and paid support workers to detect hearing problems, support the individual to attend an assessment and to then ensure consistent hearing aid use and aftercare. This is a big ask and our research suggests most carers and support workers do not yet have the necessary skills to do this optimally."
Late onset or progressive childhood hearing loss can happen after the initial testing at birth, so too can noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). That is why it is essential for parents to have their children tested annually for hearing loss by a certified hearing health professional. Children with hearing loss succeed, and may not require special education, when teachers and others provide appropriate and effective accommodations.
It is important to treat all forms of hearing loss, including unilateral hearing loss. Studies have shown unilateral hearing loss affects a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development at nearly the same rate as bilateral hearing loss.
Better hearing has been shown to improve life and have a real impact on self-esteem and comfort in social settings. If a child feels more secure about their ability to function in a classroom, they will also feel more secure about themselves. Children with hearing loss, from infants to adolescents, have been shown to adjust better to their hearing loss and wearing hearing aids when they are around others who have hearing loss, so it's also important to have children interact socially with other children who have hearing loss.
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!
University of Sunderland. "Disability, deafness often go hand-in-hand." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2014.