Hearing plays a critical role in speech, language development, communication, and learning. Academic delays caused by a hearing loss often lead to learning problems. According to recent information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1.3 of 1000 8-year-olds have bilateral hearing loss of 40 decibels (dB) or more which profoundly affects their ability to learn. Numerous studies show early intervention as being the key to increase academic performance in healthy and hearing-impaired children. New research agrees with the idea of early intervention and suggests that children with reading difficulties need a thorough screening for possible hearing problems.
Unfortunately, many school-aged children have undiagnosed hearing problems while they are learning to read. Children who have undiagnosed hearing problems have a good chance of becoming struggling readers. They develop vocabulary more slowly and struggle with sentence structure. These are two critical components of reading. There are standard signs of hearing issues that include:
Recognizing and addressing a child’s hearing problem may help their reading difficulties.The researchers feel that awareness of a child’s hearing impairment is the key to providing the necessary support for reading success. The research study concludes that 25% of the young participants with reading difficulties also demonstrated a mild or moderate hearing loss of which teachers and parents were unaware. More awareness of children’s hearing problems could lead to an increase in structured support to improve these children’s reading ability.
Do you or your child’s teacher suspect that your child might have a hearing problem? If so, visit your pediatrician for a check-up. The child may have an ear infection that requires immediate attention. Have a thorough exam to check the child’s hearing by a hearing healthcare professional. Obtain the services of a speech-language pathologist to develop a remedial program for the child’s hearing loss. A directory provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) can help you find qualified professionals in your area. You can be a great help to your child as well. Here are a few tips for parents when reading to children with a hearing loss:
The process of learning to read is challenging for all children but is especially daunting for the child with a hearing problem. This research indicates that it is critical to test children early and often for hearing impairment. If you sense that your child is experiencing the signs and symptoms of a hearing loss, please address the problem with a professional today.