Hearing management

Updated 06 December 2017

Hearing loss in one ear impairs kids' language

Hearing loss in one ear is enough to cause language problems for kids, doctors reported on Monday.However, they write in the journal Pediatrics, the up to one in 20 kids with such hearing loss often don't receive the help they need, such as a front seat in class, hearing aids or special education.

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hearing loss in one ear is enough to cause language problems for kids, doctors reported on Monday.

However, they write in the journal Pediatrics, the up to one in 20 kids with such hearing loss often don't receive the help they need, such as a front seat in class, hearing aids or special education.

"The key idea that this study is presenting is that we don't want to ignore children" with hearing loss on one ear, said Sandra M. Grether, a speech pathologist at the University of Cincinnati, who was not involved in the study.

For the study, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, led by Dr. Judith Lieu, tested 74 pairs of school-age siblings. Half the children had hearing loss in one ear, while their siblings had normal hearing. The impaired kids scored lower on both comprehension and speech tests and were more likely to be receiving speech therapy than their siblings, but they performed just as well on IQ tests.

"Unlike for children with (hearing loss in both ears), who are routinely fitted with hearing aids and receive accommodations for disability, children with (hearing loss in one ear) may not be considered to have a 'significant hearing loss,'" the researchers write. They add that, "Our results suggest that children with (hearing loss in one ear) should be eligible for the same accommodations as children with (hearing loss in both ears).

"Apart from hearing aids, several opportunities exist to help these kids, including an FM system that can be used to amplify a teacher's voice. But, the researchers note, parents often have to lobby hard to get schools to adopt such systems.

Grether welcomed the findings, saying earlier research had been scanty.

"These kids are still struggling," she said. "It is something that you notice, but you don't have the data to back it up."

 

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Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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