Let’s talk about poor school performance. What do we think when our child gets low grades and does not learn the school curriculum properly?
Of course, an inattentive child who does not want to learn or behaves poorly in an educational institution comes to mind. I believe that there is a very different reason that significantly affects school performance. Namely, this is hearing loss. Children with this problem have serious difficulties not only in everyday life but also at school. And unfortunately, parents do not always notice hearing loss in their children on time, only exacerbating the situation. Well, let’s take a closer look at this serious problem and ways to solve it!
Are hearing and learning really related?
From birth, hearing is incredibly important to a child’s development. First, the baby hears the mother’s voice, which is soothing and safe. A little later, the child reacts to the speech of close family members, begins to perceive and analyze the world around him with the help of various sounds (birds singing, rain noise). That is why hearing is a prerequisite for the development of speech and the entire nervous system.
Numerous scientific studies have proven that kids with hearing loss lag behind their peers. For example, a comparative study of the intellectual development of high school students with healthy and impaired hearing showed that adolescents with impaired hearing have difficulties in establishing logical connections and relationships based on abstract material. They are three to four years behind their peers in development.
Hearing loss has the greatest impact on the study of the humanities, built on oral speech. Even with a mild hearing loss, the child has a misunderstanding of words containing high-frequency consonants (for example, [f], [ch], [s], [k], [sh]).
How many children have some form of hearing loss? According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), about 15% of children 6 to 19 years old have this problem. Hearing loss in only one ear has a huge impact on school performance! According to statistics, 35% of these children are more likely to have various problems at school. Therefore, every adult should know about the true reasons for the poor performance at school of their children, to be able to help them correctly!
Why do children with hearing loss have poor school performance?
As I mentioned earlier, hearing and learning are tightly coupled. For example, a child with hearing loss lags behind healthy peers for several years. It is important to understand that the reason for this lag is not low intellectual ability. Our leading audiologist, Dr. Stella Fulman identifies several reasons that lead to low development rates.
Features of teaching lessons
A teacher who does not know about a student’s hearing loss is not able to correctly convey the educational material to the child. After all, the teacher is teaching a lesson designed for ordinary healthy students. He can speak quickly and indistinctly, make verbal remarks. For example, during a lesson, the teacher might speak with his back to the class. Therefore, children with hearing loss are often simply not able to hear important information.
Do not forget about the atmosphere in the classroom. The noisy environment also significantly interferes with the perception of the educational material.
In addition to academic failure, hearing impaired children experience many social problems. Difficulty or complete lack of communication with peers leads to apathy, anxiety, isolation, loss of interest in learning and life in general. Such children grow up withdrawn, with a mass of pathological fears, lack of determination, and loneliness. Psychological problems are added to physical problems. They are especially relevant in adolescence when hormonal changes in the body are especially intensified.
Teens often function somewhat in their own world, frequently not participating in everything that happens at school or at home, which often confounds diagnosis. It is not unusual for a teenager’s hearing issue to go unnoticed for an extended period of time.
Adults don’t know the real cause of the problem
Unfortunately, adults don’t always draw the right conclusions when trying to find the cause of poor school performance. Kids with hearing loss are often inattentive and misbehaving. As a result, adults misidentify their children as having ADD and ADHD. And instead of supporting a child with hearing loss, they begin treatment for other problems. Ultimately, this only exacerbates the whole situation and leads to even greater complications. Therefore, if you have any doubts about your child’s health, be sure to read on more hearing care for children information on our site.
How can we help children with hearing loss keep up with their peers in development?
Children who have received early diversified hearing loss therapy on time (using hearing aids in conjunction with speech therapy ) noticeably improve their academic performance and fully adapt to society. Early diagnosis and initiation of proper treatment are the main criteria for a child’s recovery.
At this stage, a lot depends not on the parents but the teachers as well. Indeed, in the classroom, they may be the first to notice the symptoms of hearing loss. Among them:
Failure to progress
Particular lag in Speech Topics
Detachment in the classroom
Pointless answers to specific questions
These red flags point to the fact that your child can have a hearing problem, or a possibility of an auditory processing disorder. At the same time, teachers should be more attentive to their students who often have otitis media, as well as to those who might have a family history of hearing loss.
If you think your child has a hearing problem, do not delay seeing the doctor. You must support a child with hearing loss. After all, the sooner the problem is identified and measures are taken to solve it, the more chances the child has to have good academic performance and be socially adapted.
Studies have shown that children who use hearing aids or devices such as cochlear implants do better and live as well as their peers. After all, aren’t your child’s health and happiness the most important things in life?!
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]