May 1, 2019 Hearing Loss
May is almost here and it’s Better Hearing and Speech Month, a time to raise awareness about communication disorders and available treatment options that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems speaking, understanding, or hearing. This is a time to become aware of your own hearing and to remind parents that early intervention counts!
With new evidence showing a majority of young children in the United States use personal technology such as smartphones and tablets, it is critical that parents prioritize teaching and enforcing safe listening practices, particularly when children are using these devices with ear buds or headphones. This is also a time to note how you listen to your devices! During Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM), we recommend parents use these simple tips to protect children’s ears (These are good tips for adults to practice too!):
- Turn down the volume. Don’t listen to things too loudly.
- Take listening breaks. Give their ears a rest.
- Model safe-listening habits. Demonstrate these behaviors yourself. (Turn down that car stereo!)
As summer approaches, we all enjoy greater leisure time and road trips where technology use is common, this is an especially important time to practice safe listening. While prevention is ideal, we urge people to learn the early signs of hearing loss. Early treatment can help prevent or mitigate many of the negative repercussions from hearing loss, so it is critical to not delay. For children, the earlier hearing loss occurs in 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. For adults, the earlier you identify hearing loss, the easier it is to adapt and hear life to its fullest!
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.
Parents can learn the signs of hearing loss in children at http://IdentifytheSigns.org.