Though we like to assume that our children are hearing as well as possible, kids are just as susceptible as adults are to having hearing difficulties and not knowing it. Although it is sometimes obvious when there’s something wrong — as is typically the case with ear infections — some children simply aren’t sure whether their hearing is normal, and many school hearing tests screen for frequencies outside of the most common ranges for hearing loss.
Two new studies out of the U.K. shed more light on pediatric hearing loss, with one suggesting that earlier diagnosis of a hearing loss — and earlier treatment — means that children will have academic scores similar to those with normal hearing. Typically, children with a hearing loss fall behind their normal-hearing peers.
The other study, from Newcastle University, states that some common childhood infections may lead to hearing loss later in life. The findings are part of a study that has been ongoing since 1947, during which time the health, growth, and development of 1,142 Newcastle-born babies have been monitored. The findings show that those who suffered from infections as children were more likely to have hearing loss in their 60s, and that reducing childhood infection rates may help prevent hearing loss later in life.
These pieces of research touch on two important aspects of pediatric hearing care: First, that damage done to your child’s hearing now due to infections like tonsillitis, ear infections, and severe respiratory infections can have consequences far into adulthood; and second, even if your child does have a hearing impairment, diagnosing and treating it early means they’ll likely grow up to perform at a normal academic level.