hearing loss in children

hearing loss in children

He’s Falling Behind: Virtual Learning and Impact on Students with Disabilities

It’s a difficult time for everyone. Learning is virtual for many children, which is bringing new problems for children going to school at home. For children who need different and more services, virtual learning can be particularly challenging. 

A Charlotte, North Carolina, family is worried that their son Connor, who was born deaf, is falling too far behind because of virtual learning. When Connor was in school, he’d work with several teachers and aides who were specialists in helping children like him. Because of the pandemic, this isn’t possible any longer.

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An Overview of Hearing Loss in Children

In a recent review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Lieu and colleagues (2020) provide an excellent overview of hearing loss in children that would be highly beneficial for students, parents, and any professional working with pediatric patients with hearing loss. 

The article provides a detailed overview of the epidemiology, etiology, and consequences of childhood hearing loss as well as assessment and management options. 

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Neurocognitive Deficits in Children with Hearing Loss After Cancer Treatment

In a recent study on survivors of childhood cancers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Bess et al (2020) report an increased risk for neurocognitive deficits in children who have hearing loss after treatment. 

The study sample of 1,512 cancer survivors was separated into groups based on the degree of hearing loss and type of cancer treatment. The three groups included those who received cisplatin and/or carboplatin chemotherapy, cochlear radiotherapy (RT) with or without platinum-based chemotherapy, or no exposure. 

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Children and Hearing Loss

Children and Hearing Loss


Hearing Loss in Children 

Although hearing loss can happen at any age, a growing number of kids and teens are damaging their hearing by prolonged noise exposure to loud noise. This type of damage is called noise-induced hearing loss, which is permanent and is almost always preventable! Approximately 12 percent of all children ages 6–19 have noise-induced hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells that are found in the inner ear. Hair cells are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear (sound energy) into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss can be immediate or it can take a long time to be noticeable.

Prevention includes understanding the hazards of noise and practicing good hearing health. The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85dB.

(View the full PDF)


How to protect your child’s hearing: 

  • Wear proper hearing protection (earmuffs or earplugs) when in noisy environments (concerts, sporting events, fireworks displays, car races). Hearing protection comes in a variety of sizes and textures to provide an optimum fit. Custom-made earplugs can be obtained from an audiologist.
  • Turn down the volume. 
  • Walk away from loud noise.

Childhood noise risks include: 

Noisy toys  Sporting events 
Band class  Motorbikes
Farm equipment  Movie theaters 
Shop class  Arcades 
Concerts  Firearms 
Firecrackers and fireworks  Power tools
MP3 Players   

 

To help you and your child learn more about hearing, hearing loss, and hearing protection, download these educational worksheets and games.


If you think your child may have a hearing loss and/or you would like more information regarding hearing protection, an audiologist can help navigate these needs. Therefore, “Find an Audiologist” and set up an appointment to get your child’s hearing checked.