Communication skills are at the heart of life’s experience, particularly for children who are developing language critical to cognitive development and learning.
Children with communication disorders frequently perform at a poor or insufficient academic level, struggle with reading, have difficulty understanding and expressing language, misunderstand social cues, avoid attending school, show poor judgement, and have difficulty with tests. Unfortunately, since poor academic performance is often accompanied by inattention and sometimes poor behavior, children with hearing loss are often misidentified as having learning disabilities such as ADD and ADHD.
Even a mild hearing loss can affect academic performance.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), 1.3 out of 1000 8-year-olds have bilateral hearing loss (loss of hearing in both ears) of 40 decibels (dB) or more. And 14.9 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have hearing loss of at least 16 dB in one or both ears. Even hearing loss in only one ear has a tremendous impact on school performance; research shows anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of children with unilateral hearing loss are at risk of failing at least one grade level.
Importance of early intervention
Studies have shown that early intervention is the key to fostering peer level academic performance as well as healthy social interactions in kids with hearing loss. Parents who believe their child is having trouble communicating should seek help from a professional. An audiologist can evaluate a child’s hearing and a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can evaluate and treat a speech or language disorder.