As parents gear up for the new school year, what does every back-to-school checklist need? “A check-in on kids’ hearing health,” says Kevin Amdahl of Amdahl Hearing. “Children learn a great deal through visual and auditory cues, so maximizing their hearing is important for their success.”
About five of every 1,000 children have a hearing impairment, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, and 25 to 35 percent of kids with hearing loss even in just one ear risk failing a grade level.
Kevin offers these back-to-school tips for helping kids hear and learn their best:
- Know the signs of hearing loss — Frequently turning up TV volumes, difficulty understanding phone conversations, complaining about noise or earaches: These and other signs point to potential hearing loss, and detecting it early can reduce the risk of academic, social, and other problems.
- Reduce noise exposure — More than 5 million youth ages 6 to 19 have permanent hearing damage due to noise, one of the most preventable causes. Reducing exposure to sounds above 85 decibels, curbing use of MP3 players, and providing earplugs for use amid excess noise can go a long way.
- Partner with the school — Teachers and administrators are crucial to helping kids hear their best during the school day, with classroom seating arrangements, loop systems, closed captioning, and other supportive options. They can also identify possible signs of hearing loss, such as decreased engagement.
- Keep hearing aids in top shape — For children already hearing better through today’s advanced hearing technology, help keep their devices in top shape by scheduling a professional clean and check before school starts. Also, put an extra set of batteries in their backpack and provide another backup set to their teacher.
- Get a hearing check — Take the whole family for professional hearing checks at least once a year, just as you would for their eyes or teeth. Timing the visits before the new school year starts can help catch and resolve any hearing difficulties before they affect your child’s learning.