One In Five Children Have A Hearing Loss – So What?

There has been a lot of press recently about the study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Collected data was studied on 2,929 adolescents who took part in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Study which ran from 1988 to 1994 and compared the results to the 1,771 teens who took part in the same survey from 2005 to 2006. Among the children (aged 12-19) in the first study, 14.9% showed demonstrable signs of a hearing loss, while in the latter group the percentage jumped to 19.5% – a 31% increase between the groups. Imagine, one out of every five of our children already has some level of hearing deficiency! This dramatic increase in hearing loss amongst our youngsters needs to be viewed as a real and growing threat to the educational vitality of our nation and considered as, and treated like a true public health epidemic. We take our hearing for granted. Hearing loss is, in most cases, a very slow, transitional process, slow enough for us to develop compensating behaviors which allows us to deny the problem: we move closer to the speaker; we increase the volume of the TV, radio, or our personal music player. We do these things to persuade ourselves that we can control the problem and that the ‘loss’ is not real. It’s just that the volume needs adjusting. If we can just get the volume up to acceptable levels everything will be alright. We believe that we can live with hearing loss because everything we own, and all the people around us, have a volume control… huh?… what?… please...

Hearing and Listening Health Affect All of Our Children

Adopted or Not, Hearing Health and Listening Comprehension Affect Our Children There was a very interesting article posted on the ASHA Sphere Blog today. Written by Deborah Hwa-Froelich, PhD, CCC-SLP, the article titled Hearing Health and Development Following Adoption brings up a number of very important – and tightly linked – issues. How a small amount of fluid buildup in the middle ear can affect balance and hearing acuity. How, after seeking medical advice and completing impedance testing, she says that her results were in the low-normal range and that “most medical professionals would not treat a patient who exhibited these symptoms preferring to wait until the patient demonstrated consistent flat tympanograms or infection.” But, without exhibiting either of these conditions, she had significantly reduced hearing acuity, especially in noisy environments like the classroom. She wonders how children can focus and learn when they have fluid in the middle ear. How children who have resided in orphanages around the world – who receive less than adequate medical care – may have untreated otitis media and become accustomed to the symptoms of ear pain, imbalance, and poor hearing acuity. And when parents who adopt these children they expect the child to exhibit and demonstrate certain behaviors of discomfort when the child is ill. However, because of the lack of attention to hearing health, the children do not show the typical symptoms of pain or lack of balance and thus the parents may not recognize – and then not seek – medical care. Many orphanages do not provide the social interaction that children need to learn which sounds are meaningful to...

A Poem – I Can Hear You But I Can’t Understand The Words You’re Saying

I can hear you whispering in my ears The warmth of your breath and the sweetness, the smell of you I instinctively know what you’re saying I think But I can’t understand the words you’re saying I move to the front of the classroom can hear much better from there I watch carefully to see what you’re saying To try to gain meaning from the sounds But I can’t understand the words you’re saying We hold each other tight as we watch a movie on TV You giggle as the characters tell a funny story I turn up the volume and try to catch more of the dialogue The sounds get louder But I still can’t understand the words they’re saying The phone rings and I don’t want to answer it Its painful to listen to the person on the other end I hear the sounds of conversation but only pieces of the words Its too difficult to grasp for a meaning Because I can’t understand the words they’re saying Conversations are too challenging so I avoid them Leaving my friends and family to wonder what’s wrong I’ve withdrawn into myself, not wanting to see anyone For fear of hearing them talk Because I can’t understand the words they’re saying All’s quiet, not because I can’t hear, I really can But the sounds are meaningless mumbles, frustratingly difficult to decipher I hide from everyone so as not to appear disconnected or unintelligent Dealing with the noise and chatter is too much, the quiet is easier Because I can’t understand the words you’re saying ©2009 Alan R. Ehrlich (all rights...