Hearing Health and Back to School: Equip Your Child with the Best Year Yet

by Lindsay Robinson, HIA Program Coordinator

September 1, 2021


This back to school season, kids around the nation are preparing for a new year and focusing on ways to stay healthy as they resume classes in person. Aside from adhering to COVID prevention measures, there is also another important health consideration to assure your child has their best year yet: hearing health. Approximately 2-3 children out of every 1,000 are born with hearing loss.1 Hearing loss can also occur at any point in childhood due to illness, injury, some medications and noise. It’s important to know the signs of hearing loss to keep your child’s development on track.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), signs of hearing loss in children include:

  • Listening to the TV at a loud volume
  • Often saying “huh?” or “what?”
  • Speech is delayed or unclear
  • Not following directions, which could be mistaken for ignoring rules or being unable to pay attention


Additional warning signs for hearing loss in children can be found here.


If you suspect your child might have hearing loss, it’s important to take them to an audiologist and/or ENT* right away. Although hearing loss is treatable, leaving a hearing loss untreated can be detrimental to a child’s development and academic success. Hearing loss puts children at risk of:


  • Delays in speech and language2
  • Social isolation and poor self-regard2
  • Failing at least one grade level3
  • Developing slower than their hearing peers by one to four grade levels3


Because poor academic performance or attention issues can often lead to behavioral problems, children with hearing loss may be misdiagnosed with disabilities such as ADD and ADHD. Treatment for behavioral and learning disabilities and hearing loss is vastly different, so it’s important to add a hearing examination to your child’s back to school checklist if they have ever been told that they have trouble paying attention or have any of the signs of hearing loss listed above.


Hearing tests conducted by an audiologist are simple and easy, and can tell you within minutes of conducting the test if your child is suffering from hearing loss. If your child is found to have hearing loss, intervention for medical issues such as ear wax or middle ear infections may resolve the hearing loss. Hearing loss may also be treated with hearing aids or a cochlear implant which can bring the world of sound back into your child’s life and allow them the best available resource for developing with their peers. Learn more about treatment options for kids and additional resources for pediatric hearing loss here.


*Current FDA regulations require a medical evaluation of children under 18 prior to the fitting of hearing aids. FDA Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 states:  In addition to seeing a physician for a medical evaluation, a child with a hearing loss should be directed to an audiologist for evaluation and rehabilitation since hearing loss may cause problems in language development and the educational and social growth of a child. An audiologist is qualified by training and experience to assist in the evaluation and rehabilitation of a child with a hearing loss.
1 Vohr B. Overview: Infants and children with hearing loss-part I. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2003;9(2):62-4. doi: 10.1002/mrdd.10070. PMID: 12784222.
2 Effects on Hearing Loss and Development (2015). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
3 How Hearing Loss Effects School Performance (2020). Healthy Hearing.

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