Hearing management

Updated 07 December 2017

Spotting hearing problems in infancy may boost reading skills in deaf teens

A study has found that deaf teenagers have stronger reading and language skills if their hearing problems were detected at a young age.

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Deaf teens have stronger language and reading skills if their hearing problems were detected at an early age, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at a group of deaf children in England who were diagnosed with permanent hearing loss through an infant screening program conducted in the 1990s.

A follow-up of the children at age 8 found that those who were screened by the time they were 9 months old had better language and reading skills than deaf children who weren't screened as infants.

This new study assessed the children at age 17, and found the gap in language and reading skills between the screened and unscreened groups had doubled since age 8.

The findings are published Nov. 25 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

"Our previous work has shown that children exposed to newborn hearing screening had, on average, better language and reading abilities at age 8 years. We are now able to show that this screening program can benefit these children into their teenage years," study leader Dr. Colin Kennedy, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Southampton in England, said in a university news release.

"We believe that the early superiority in the reading skills of the children who were screened may have enabled them to read more demanding material more frequently than their peers with later confirmed hearing difficulties, thus increasing the skill gap between the two groups," he explained.

"Screening all babies for hearing impairment at birth enables families to have the information they need to support their baby's development, leads to benefits of practical importance at primary school and now, secondary school and further education," Kennedy concluded.

Read more:
Ear infection can disrupt a child's life
The importance of having your baby's hearing tested

Playing musical instruments sharpen's kids brains

 

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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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