The situation is all too common. The parent, extremely frustrated, continues to yell and yell at the young child to clean up their room. The child insists that they did not hear the yelling and the parent writes it off to the child not wanting to clean their room. Yet, there are many children that do have hearing problems that go undiagnosed. In fact, approximately 20% of teenagers have some form of hearing loss today. That is a 30% higher rate than in the 1980s and 1990s. Monitoring and then diagnosing these sensory difficulties is important for the following reasons.
Better communication with parents
The situation described above is just one of the possible disagreements between a child and their parent. If a child is unable to fully hear or see, it can lead to frustrations for both parents and children. Conducting hearing screenings and vision screenings early on can help to identify these problems and increase the communication methods. Parents can find alternative ways to communicate with their child, thus improving the relationship.
Better academic performance
Children that have undiagnosed hearing or vision problems tend to struggle in school. They either cannot hear the teacher or they cannot see the chalkboard. They might not realize their difficulties or not want to speak up and can easily get left behind academically. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, hearing screening should be conducted before a child enters school for the first time, at ages 6, 8, and 10, at least once during middle school, and at least once during high school. A child?s hearing is constantly changing, so it is important to continue to test for these changes. If any hearing difficulties are noted, special accommodations can be made to assist with academic success.
Higher rate of hearing and vision difficulties
Perhaps one of the problems with diagnosing either hearing or vision troubles is that there is a much higher rate of these problems in children today than ever before. More than 40% of U.S. parents report that their children spend three or more hours per day using digital devices. This can ultimately contribute to vision and hearing loss. Conversely, these same technological devices can also be used to improve academic learning when there are hearing difficulties. However, it requires that a hearing screening first identifies the problem.
The struggle of diagnosis
When hearing and vision deficiencies are identified early on, accommodations can be made to move past them. However, many children are not regularly tested for hearing screening or vision screening. New school budget plans are tight and often cut out the needed professionals for these types of screenings. Yet, when schools do include hearing screenings into their budgets, they are likely to see cost savings down the road. Children that get left behind academically are more likely to utilize assistance resources.
Additionally, the school is more likely to have reduced graduation rates and attendance rates. In school districts that rely on enrollment for funding, this can be a problem. When education staffing professionals find these problems early on with sensory screening and vision and hearing screening, the children can be given the tools they need to succeed, thus also helping the school.
There are millions of children with undiagnosed hearing of vision problems. While schools once tested for these things, many no longer do. Yet, there has been an increase in sensory difficulties. It is important to test for these deficiencies to help the child academically, to improve the parent and child relationship, and to help the school maintain their resources and stick with a budget plan.