When going back to school, it is important for children to get their hearing checked. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14.9 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have low- or high-frequency hearing loss of at least 16-decibel hearing levels in one or both ears.
Pediatric guidelines suggest that children should get their hearing checked at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10, and then, due to an increased risk of hearing loss secondary to unprotected noise exposure, at ages 13 and 15. Since hearing screening may not be performed in all school districts, parents are encouraged to consider having hearing checks prior to the start of the new school year.
“We will assess the health of the ear canal and ear drum visually,” explained Jerrica Maxson, AuD, CCC-A, an audiologist with Trinity Health Audiology. “Then, we will assess the child’s ability to detect soft sounds at the pitches that are important for understanding speech.”
Through the audiologic testing, the audiologists at Trinity Health incorporate age-appropriate games, which helps keep their attention longer. “We have different methods for testing children, depending on their age,” Maxson said.
The appointment takes a half hour, with the first five minutes spent getting a hearing medical history of the patient, followed by 15 minutes of the actual testing. The remainder is used to counsel the patient and family on the results.
“It is well recognized that hearing is critical to speech and language development, communication, and learning,” the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association said on the website. “Children with listening difficulties due to a hearing loss or auditory processing problems continue to be at risk for developmental delays.”
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association added that hearing loss can affect children in the following four major ways:
• It causes delay in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills (speech and language).
• The language deficit causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement.
• Communication difficulties often lead to social isolation and poor self-regard.
• It may have an impact on vocational choices.
Trinity Health Audiology includes Kylie Harris, AuD, CCC-A; Jerrica Maxson, AuD, CCC-A; and Tricia Nechodom, AuD. Their office is located in Health Center – West, 101 3rd Ave SW, Suite 203. For appointments or consultations, please call 701-857-5986. Some insurances may need a referral.