Really, please don’t panic. It might be distressing to receive a letter from your child’s school stating they have failed their hearing screen. You might feel alone, scared, or even guilty. Firstly, it may be a false positive. You child may have been excited by the break in the normal school routine, trip to the nurses’ office, and the new experience of taking vision and hearing assessments. He may not have understood the directions clearly or taken the assessment seriously. There are many reasons your child could have falsely failed a hearing screen. Even if your child’s hearing seems fine, it is imperative you take the school recommendation seriously and schedule a hearing assessment with us at Arizona Balance and Hearing Aids.
At the screening, the doctor will first ask you a series of questions regarding your family and child’s health and history. Be prepared to answer questions regarding what antibiotics your child has taken and at which age linguistic milestones were accomplished.
Next, the doctor will look into your child’s ears with an instrument called an otoscope in order to note any physical damage to the canal or eardrum. Then, your child will undergo a series of painless and quick hearing assessments. The type of assessments will vary based on your child’s age and recommendations from the audiologist, but most involve responding to faint sounds while wearing headphones.
When the exam is completed, your audiologist will review the results with you and answer any and all questions you may have. If further treatment is necessary, your doctor will discuss your options based on your child’s specific hearing profile, hearing needs, and lifestyle.
If recommended by an audiologist, hearing aids are incredibly powerful tools in helping children with hearing loss achieve all the same milestones and accomplishments as their peers without hearing loss. Study after study has shown astronomically positive effects of hearing aid use in all areas of life.
It is estimated that about 80% of people who could benefit from hearing aids do not use them. Don’t let your child be part of that 80%. Instead, allow them the opportunity to accurately hear all the beautiful sounds life has to offer, and develop on par with their peers, both socially and academically.
It may feel like you’re the only parent on the planet dealing with this news, but you are absolutely not alone. In fact, there are approximately 32 million children living with hearing loss, all over the world.
In the US, the Center for Disease Control estimates that about 15% of children aged 6-19 have low or high frequency hearing loss in one or both ears. You and your child are not alone on this journey. If your child does, in fact, have a hearing issue, early identification and treatment are the best ways to ensure your child will develop appropriate social and academic skills and lead a perfectly normal, healthy, and happy life.
Hearing loss should not interfere with your child’s ability to do the things they love. Whether your child is an avid swimmer, dancer, chess player or mathematician, he or she will still be able to participate with the right hearing support. However, it is still imperative that you inform the staff at your child’s school and leaders of their activities of their hearing loss and required interventions.
It may also be recommended that certain accommodations be made for your child to succeed in the classroom. This could include simple solutions such as preferential seating or providing your child with visuals to accompany information given verbally. If your child is not able to work to their potential with their hearing support and simple accommodations, you may reach out to the school regarding their process on obtaining a 504 Plan or IEP for your child.
Some students with hearing loss need more intervention and support, such as weekly sessions with a speech therapist or alternate modes of taking assessments. If needed, these types of supports will be provided by the school district completely free-of-charge to you.