Hearing Loss in Children - Not Paying Attention

Last Editorial Review: 4/23/2002

Children Not Payin' Attention In School Might Not Be Hearin'

Nearly 15% of children in the United States have hearing loss.

The children are hard of hearing with a low-frequency or high-frequency loss of at least 16-dB hearing level in one or both ears. This was reported in the April 8, 1998 issue of the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA).

The finding emerged from pure-tone audiometric testing of over 6,000 school children 6 to 19 years old in a national health and nutrition survey. The survey was population-based and cross-sectional. Each child was interviewed and had audiometric testing (at 0.5 to 8 kHz).

The bottom line is that audiometric screening among children in elementary, middle, and high school should include low-frequency and high-frequency testing to detect hearing loss.

Hearing loss in children is known to influence the development of communication and behavioral skills. So if the children are not payin' attention in school (or payin' attention to you), they might not be hearin'.

Source: Niskar AS, Kieszak SM, Holmes A, Esteban E, Rubin C, Brody DJ, et al. Prevalence of hearing loss among children 6 to 19 years of age. The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. JAMA 1998;279:1071-1075.

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