LISTENING IN NOISE, BRAIN STRAIN, AND THE EFFECTS OF HEARING LOSS ON CHILDREN

Listening is hard work, especially for those with hearing loss. That’s the topic of a recent article on the advance healthcare network, written by Leanne Powers, AuD. “It takes more effort to listen if you have hearing loss because of the exertion required to hear and understand.” This can often lead to “brain strain”, leaving you with the possibility of chronic fatigue, cognition issues, and problems managing balance. Straining to hear in noise can take its toll.

Getting your hearing tested regularly, especially if you’re over the age of 55, can help catch these problems before they occur. If you test positive for hearing loss, hearing aids and personal assistive hearing devices can become the tools to help maintain any problems stemming from brain strain before they become too severe.

Children with hearing loss present a different problem, because they’re still growing and their brain is still developing. According to ASHA, there are four major ways in which hearing loss can affect children:

“1. It causes delay in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills (speech and language).

2. The language deficit causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement.

3. Communication difficulties often lead to social isolation and poor self-concept.

4. It may have an impact on vocational choices.”

Though this is not an easy thing for parents to hear, there are many things that can be done. Hearing loss in a child often requires intervention from a speech language pathologist and an audiologist, who will together create a plan of action so that the child won’t be at a disadvantage. ASHA says, “Recent research indicates that children identified with a hearing loss who begin services early may be able to develop language (spoken and/or signed) on a par with their hearing peers.”

Listening is a crucial part of day to day life, and with the right tools and guidance, those with impaired hearing need not be deprived of a normal life.