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Unaddressed hearing woes could make school life miserable

By Randy Thoms Sep 1, 2023 | 3:09 PM

Photo courtesy Madmaven/Freeimages.com

Parents have been feverishly helping their kids get ready for the new school year.

An audiologist says if hearing has been an issue for the child, it is something that can’t be left off the to-do list.

Dr. Kelly Conroy, an audiologist at the Mayo Clinic, says every two to three children out of every 1,000 have some level of hearing loss.

Dr. Conroy says if a student can’t hear what’s happening in the classroom, it might appear as an issue of being inattentive.

However, it could also be a sign they are struggling to engage with the learning process.

“And that can definitely be something that can be progressive, “or it can be something that is intermittent, based upon other issues with their ears,” says Conroy.

That could include recurring symptoms from an untreated ear infection or prolonged exposure to loud volumes from sources such as headphones.
Either way, Conroy says it could hurt academic performance, especially for young kids developing speech skills.

Even if your school has screenings, Conroy encourages parents to bring the issue up with their family doctor.

Families can also ask the school to make some accommodations.

“The classroom is very noisy, and that’s where the parents and teachers need to be really cognizant of that, certainly if they’re aware of it, and have them seated in a place that’s proper, where they can hear the teacher better.”

She adds hearing loss, even in just one ear, can negatively affect a student’s ability to follow along in class.

Experts have said kids should follow the “60-60” rule, which is listening to music or video content through headphones at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.

(With files from Mike Moen/Minnesota News Connction)


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