Slight hearing loss may affect kids’ behavior, school performance

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By Linda Carroll

(Reuters Health) – Children with mild hearing loss may do a little less well at school and are more likely to develop behavioral problems, a new study suggests.

Hearing impairment that doctors and parents may have considered mild or mild "may actually be associated with school performance and behavior," the researchers write in JAMA Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Among some 5,000 Dutch elementary school children, mild or mild hearing impairment was associated with higher scores for behavioral problems on their parent completed questionnaires and lower scores on standardized tests.

While the study cannot prove that mild hearing loss causes poor academic performance and behavioral problems, "we would like to raise awareness that a possibly mild hearing loss can have more effects on daily life than is commonly assumed," the principal said. author Dr. Carlijn le Clercq of the Erasmus University Medical Center in an email. "Children with mild hearing loss may benefit from a seat in front of the classroom next to the teacher. And for children who seem to have trouble following school or whose attention is limited, a hearing test may be considered."

Le Clercq and colleagues focused on children who had trouble hearing tones below 25 decibels.

"Rustling leaves are about 20 decibels," explained le Clercq. "Maybe it's no big deal if you can't hear rustling leaves. However (for people who can't) almost all normal speech will be softer in your ears. You can imagine that it takes more effort to understand that speech. , especially if it's like this all day ".

Le Clercq's team studied 4,779 children born between 2002 and 2006. Children with moderate or severe hearing loss were excluded from the study.

Between 9 and 11 years old, the children had their hearing checked in a quiet room. A smaller group took a second test, which tested their ability to hear speech in a noisy environment.

School performance and behavioral problems worsened as hearing decreased, the researchers found.

The story goes on

The new study "highlights the fact that severe or mild hearing loss can affect school behavior and performance," said Dr. David Chi, head of the Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology Division at Pittsburgh UPMC Children's Hospital.

Minor hearing impairments may be enough to make it difficult for children to discern "certain words when there is more background noise in the classroom," Chi said. The noise may simply come from "conversation from colleagues or from the heating or cooling system."

Chi, the co-author of an editorial accompanying the new study, agrees that children with mild hearing impairment should sit in front of the classroom and recommends that teachers with a softer voice be equipped with microphones. "We all had teachers who murmur and it's challenging to hear," he said.

"The bottom line is that this should not be ignored and we should provide interventions for those with mild hearing loss," Chi said.

The new findings should alert people to the possibility that children with poor performance and poor school behavior could have hearing loss, said Dr. Maura Cosetti, who runs the New York Eye and Ear Cochlear Implant Center, at Mount Sinai Ward in New York City.

Even a slight hearing loss can make it difficult for children to get their attention, possibly causing them to disconnect the teacher, Cosetti said. "I often see children who do not hear and have behavioral problems who have never had their hearing tests out of routine school tests," he added.

SOURCE: and JAMA Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, online November 27, 2019.



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