A new study appearing in JAMA - The Journal of the American Medical Association confirms the importance of checking the hearing of all young people.
Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH and his colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston compared two sets of data on hearing loss from different periods of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from the periods 1988-1994 and 2005-2006. Although much of the hearing loss they identified was mild, the level of increase was significant. In the earlier study some 14.9% of the target age group had some hearing loss. In the later study, this increased to 19.5%. Another finding of concern was that hearing loss was greater in young people whose families lived below the poverty level. The authors concluded "The prevalence of hearing loss among a sample of U.S. adolescents aged 12 to 19 years was greater in 2005-2006 compared with 1988-1994. Further studies are needed to determine reasons for this increase and to identify potential modifiable risk factors to prevent the development of hearing loss."
Screening for vision and hearing problems has always been a part of our comprehensive educational assessments here at the Yellin Center. Students need to be able to see and hear clearly to fully participate in the learning experience in their classrooms. When our screening suggests there may be a problem in either of these areas we suggest that the student be seen by an appropriate professional who can determine whether there is, indeed, a problem and offer appropriate remediation if necessary.
So what can parents do? There is a good discussion of how to prevent hearing loss in children Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children: What Educators Need to Know on the commercial site www.speechandlanguage.com. You may find the link in the article to http://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/ particularly helpful.