Hearing Loss Can Have a Profound Educational Impact
Hearing loss can greatly impair learning in auditory verbal environments such as in classroom settings where transmission and reception of speech is critical.
Aspects of verbal communication skills such as vocabulary, grammar, word order and idiomatic expressions can be much more difficult for students struggling with hearing loss
Hearing loss is the most common developmental disorder identifiable at birth and its prevalence increases throughout school‐ age due to the additions of late‐onset, late identified and acquired hearing loss. (American Academy of Audiology Childhood Hearing Screening Guidelines)
Audiometric technicians of School Sight & Sound, Inc. detect possible hearing loss in school age children by Identification Audiometry
The purpose of audiometry screening is to identify:
1) Those children who have no apparent hearing problems
2) Those children who are in need of more detailed testing.
In a quiet environment headphones are placed on students and tones are presented in various frequencies using 25 and 35 decibels of intensity. Student responses (raised hands) must be readily perceivable and clearly linked to tone presentations.
The student will have audiometric testing at an initial screening event. If there is failure at initial there will be a second attempt 10-14 days later and a rescreening event.
5%-10% commonly fail at initial screening. 50% of those are likely to pass the second screening test. The chief reasons for this may be due to the following:
1) Existence of acute pathological conditions which clear spontaneously before the administration of a second screening test
2) Child’s failure to understand or inability to follow instructions at the time of the first screening test.
When a student fails audiometric testing at an initial screening event and again at a rescreening event, a threshold test is done. This is a longer test (no more than 10-15 minutes) where additional tones are presented at an increased number of frequencies at various decibels and in each ear. Students who fail threshold testing are referred for further examination.
Threshold is defined as the lowest hearing level at which the subject responds at least 50% of the time.
Audiogram: is a pictorial representation, or graph, of a person’s pure tone hearing threshold levels. Results of threshold testing are plotted in hertz and decibels for each ear.
Behavioral Signs Indicating a Child May Not Be Hearing Well:
The behavioral effects of hearing loss are often subtle and resemble effects similar to those of children who experience attention deficit disorders, learning disabilities, language processing problems or cognitive delays.
Indicators of possible hearing deficiency:
- Difficulty paying attention to spoken or other auditory information
- Frequently asks to repeat what has been said
- Tires easily while listening
- Answers inappropriately to simple questions
- Isolated from peers
- Struggles with reading skills
- Struggles with spoken and/or written language
- Frustrates easily
Links to Further Understanding:
See, Hear, Speak Are Kids’ Senses Ready for School?
American Academy of Audiology Childhood Hearing Screening Guidelines