Children with slight hearing loss are purported to do a little poorer in school and can potentially grow up with learning difficulties suggests a new study.
In a recent study that included nearly 5,000 Dutch elementary school children, slight or mild hearing impairment was linked with higher behavioral problem scores on questionnaires filled out by parents and with lower scores on standardized testing.
While the study can’t prove mild hearing loss causes worse academic performance and behavior problems, “We would like to raise awareness that possibly slight hearing loss may have more effects in daily life than often assumed,” said lead author Dr. Carlijn le Clercq, of Erasmus University Medical Center. “Children with slight hearing loss may benefit from a seat in the front of the classroom close to their teacher. And for children who seem to have trouble keeping up at school or whose attention span is limited, a hearing test could be considered.”
The new study “highlights the fact that hearing loss, whether severe or slight, may affect behavior and school performance,” said Dr. David Chi, who is chief of the division of pediatric otolaryngology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Slight hearing deficiencies may be enough to make it hard for kids to discern “certain words when there is more background noise in the classroom,” Chi said. The noise could simply come from “the chatter of peers or the sound coming from the heating or cooling system.”
For parents and legal guardians of children, it is important to take note to help protect a growing child’s hearing.