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Schooling with hearing loss

May 05, 2017

Schooling with hearing loss

I . Hearing loss at school features

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  • 1.1 billion young people (aged 12 to 35) are at risk of hearing loss by exposure to noise in a recreational setting

  • In children, 60% of hearing impairment cases are due to preventable causes.

  • Audiometry results indicate that 8% of children and youth aged 6 to 19 had hearing loss that was considered slight or worse (Chart 2). Unlike adults, the prevalence of hearing loss did not differ by sex among children and youth. The majority (79%) of children and youth with hearing loss had hearing loss in only one ear (unilateral, data not shown).

  • The majority of Canadians with measured hearing loss were not aware they had any hearing problems (Chart 3). About 77% of adults with at least slight measured hearing loss did not report a diagnosis of hearing problems by a health care professional, while the same occurred in 95% of children aged 6 to 11 and 86% of youth aged 12 to 19. Males and females were similar in that 79% of males and 83% of females with at least slight measured hearing loss did not report a diagnosis of a hearing problem.

  • According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), 1.3 out of 1000 8 year olds have (loss of hearing in both ears) of 40 decibels (dB) or more. And 14.9 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have hearing loss of at least 16 dB in one or both ears. Even unilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in only one ear) has tremendous impact on school performance; research shows anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of children with unilateral hearing loss are at risk of failing at least one grade level.

II . Issues of hearing loss in classroom

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  • Listening and learning in the classroom can be very challenging for students with hearing loss.

  • Hearing plays a huge part in your child’s social, emotional and intellectual development. Any type of hearing loss can delay their progress at school, resulting in learning and behavioural problems as early as kindergarten. By their third or fourth year of school, many children with hearing loss may struggle to cope with the increasing complexity of language, social interaction and verbal communications. Even children with minimal hearing loss can have problems reading, writing, expressing themselves and interacting with others. They may miss classroom instructions, misread conversational cues and tire more easily. Poor academic performance and communication problems can then feed into low self-esteem or feelings of isolation or depression. But the good news is there are effective treatments for hearing loss, and with early intervention all the disadvantages can be overcome.

  • The earlier hearing loss occurs in a child's life, the more serious the effects on the child's development.   - Similarly, the earlier the problem is identified and intervention begun, the less serious the ultimate impact. There are four major ways in which hearing loss affects children

  • It causes delay in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills (speech and language).

  • The language deficit causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement.

  • Communication difficulties often lead to social isolation and poor self-concept.

  • It may have an impact on vocational choices.

  • Children with hearing loss often cannot hear quiet speech sounds such as "s," "sh," "f," "t," and "k" and therefore do not include them in their speech. Thus, speech may be difficult to understand.

  • Children with hearing loss may not hear their own voices when they speak. They may speak too loudly or not loud enough. They may have a speaking pitch that is too high. They may sound like they are mumbling because of poor stress, poor inflection, or poor rate of speaking.

  • Children with severe to profound hearing losses often report feeling isolated, without friends, and unhappy in school, particularly when their socialization with other children with hearing loss is limited.

  • These social problems appear to be more frequent in children with a mild or moderate hearing losses than in those with a severe to profound loss.

III . Advice to help them

  • Hearingloss; Hearingamplifier; Hearingaid; DeafAdapting the school environment to support the learner with hearing loss. For example, if a teacher turns his back to the students while teaching, his voice will be directed toward the blackboard, causing a student with hearing loss to miss part of the lesson. Oral changes to homework assignments, an unfamiliar accent or a teacher who talks too rapidly can all hinder the learning progress of a student with hearing loss.

  • Schools are beginning to use induction loop systems or “hearing loops” more frequently. There is a growing movement, in fact, to make them standard in large public venues, such as performing arts centers and airports, where people need to hear broadcast sound. Hearing loops typically circle the periphery of a classroom or public space, and work on electromagnetic signals that connect with the teacher, speaker, or performer’s microphone and audio system. This enables state-of-the-art hearing aids and cochlear implants to pick up the sounds coming from the microphone without the unwanted background noise.

  • FM systems are wireless audio systems designed to help people hear speech better in noisy environments. Working as a standalone system—or in conjunction with your child’s hearing aids, cochlear implant, or other auditory management technology—FM systems help children with any degree of hearing loss. In fact, research shows that having FM systems in the classroom benefits all students, even those without hearing loss.

  • Remote microphone hearing assistance technology (HAT) delivers the speech signal from the microphone to other audio devices so your child can have easier access to what the teacher is saying. HAT devices can bring the speech and sound signals from the microphone to your child in a number of ways:

  1. Directly to your child’s hearing aid, cochlear implant or other hearing device via a hearing loop;

  2. Directly to your child’s hearing aid, cochlear implant or other hearing device via a wireless receiver that your child wears;

  3. To a strategically positioned loudspeaker that benefits your child and others in the room;

  4. To a single, personal loudspeaker close to your child. 


IV . Conclusion

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There isn’t a moment to waste. The earlier your child is tested, diagnosed and treated for any hearing loss, the greater their chances of realizing their full academic potential. Early intervention gives your child their best chance of being able to attend mainstream schools, develop their best speech and language skills and generally lead a happy and confident schooling life.

Remember: You are not alone. These professionals have gone through this many times before with parents just like you who want to do the very best for their children. The important step is setting up that initial meeting with the multidisciplinary team in order to put the best plan in place for your child.


V . Sources

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