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Back to School: Don’t Forget Your Child’s Hearing Check-Up

Back to School. Hard of Hearing Kids

Source: Mind Ware

It’s back to school and as moms and dads prepare for that long-awaited first day back, it’s a great time to remind parents of how important it is to have your child’s hearing check-up. There are two new studies released in recent days that provide startling new realities and serve as a reminder of just how important it is for routine auditory check-ups. One in five high schoolers has permanent ringing in the ears.

The problem is partly due to music played at too-loud volumes in their MP3s. This report is from Reuters Health; however, it matches another study conducted by a clinical audiologist at Antwerp University Hospital in Belgium.


Tinnitus is the official term for ringing in the ears and it’s caused in most instances by loud noise exposure. In people of all ages, those with permanent ringing in the ears often struggle with not being able to differentiate speech sounds from a combination of surrounding noises.

In the study by the Belgium scientists, it was learned that three out of four kids experienced temporary tinnitus at some point before the age of 21. One in five reported they hear ringing all the time. Only five percent of the kids said they used any kind of hearing protection against loud noise, such as ear plugs.

Dr. Josef Shargorodsky, of Johns Hopkins Medicine, says,

Tinnitus on its own can be very troublesome and have dramatic effects on individuals. Many of the teens in this study likely also have associated hearing loss, which really exacerbates the problem.

Only 20 percent of young people report ringing in their ears, even in their sleep, communication and concentration skills begin slipping. For teens, it can also mean lower grades, more absences and even having to repeat another grade. These can mean fewer who get into the college they want. The psychological repercussions are innumerable.

Challenges in the Classroom

For young people with hearing problems, keeping up in class can be challenging. It can lead to their pulling away from social interactions and withdrawing from classroom discussions. Even if your child has no hearing problems, monitoring her hearing ability on a consistent basis can help with early diagnosis, which can mean lesser damage.

And now, parents around the country are stocking up on school supplies, working out their “back to school” planning calendars for the family and ensuring their children have the latest vaccinations. What many parents don’t do, however, is have their children’s ears checked. Mild infections can go undiagnosed and that can result in permanent hearing loss. Parents are encouraged schedule an evaluation each year by an otolaryngologist. It’s better to take those proactive steps now so that they don’t have to react to problems in the future.

With so many after school sports programs, a child or teen can endure injuries that can affect his hearing. Many injuries, especially in sports like football, occur to the head and face. From a broken nose to more severe head trauma can play a role in tinnitus and sometimes even permanent hearing loss. Proper head gear is absolutely crucial.

Advice for Parents

For some who have experienced hearing problems, there are a number of treatments that can help. Steroids and time spent in hyperbaric oxygen chambers are a few of the more traditional (though tried and true) efforts doctors will recommend along with any newer treatments.

Parents should also monitor how much time their kids spend listening to music via their ear buds. If your child can’t hear you call for her, that’s a pretty good sign that the volume is too loud.

A Link to Childhood Obesity?

Another important finding in recent years suggests obesity is directly linked to hearing loss. In fact, these young people are twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one or both ears. Obese adolescents are more likely than their normal-weight peers to suffer hearing loss that goes undiagnosed, scientists have claimed. This is the first study that examined potential links between hearing loss and obesity. The study’s author, Anil K. Lalwani, who’s with the Department of Otolaryngology /Head and Neck Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center, says that while the overall hearing loss among obese adolescents was relatively mild, it’s the near double odds due to unilateral low-frequency hearing loss that worries those in the auditory field.

Finally, there’s yet another new report that provides data suggesting babies could be born deaf if their teenage mothers are not vaccinated during their own childhoods. In fact, Professor Colin Blakemore says,

Babies will be born deaf and blind if teenagers don’t get MMR to prevent rubella timebomb.

He also is working on gathering a more well rounded dataset that suggests these babies are at higher risks of other congenital problems. While the numbers in the U.S. aren’t available, in England, the number of rubella cases are at all-time highs.

Whether your child is born hard of hearing or his hearing is damaged to the point of it affecting his ability to hear, the one common denominator is early diagnosis. As you’re scheduling your child’s yearly check-up, request his doctor do a hearing test if it’s not already part of the check up.

Donna is a professional writer residing in south Mississippi. With more than 15 years writing experience, she has written several e-books, countless newsletters and has provided content for more than 150 websites. She completed her first novel last year and is currently in the research phase for her second novel. She has worked with battered women for two decades as they seek safety away from their abusers. Many of these victims suffer hearing damage or hearing loss as a result of the abuse they endure. With this insight, she brings an interesting dynamic to the Hard of Hearing for Young People Foundation. Donna on Google+

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