It’s hard to think about children coping with hearing loss from infancy. At such a vulnerable point in their linguistic development, many children diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss are at risk of missing out on important language-skill milestones, and as such are more often prone to difficulties later in life. Not much is known about the most appropriate way to address hearing loss and hearing impairment in children, but one University of Iowa study is trying to change that.
Mary Pat Moeller and Bruce Tomblin, of the University of Iowa, have staged what they call a “First of its Kind” study to investigate the proper medical protocols for addressing hearing impairment during the crucial stages of childhood development. Since 2008, they have been working in tandem with the Boys Town National Research Hospital and the University of North Carolina to determine the best systems of support and service to treat infants and preschoolers. The study’s abstract elaborates on the areas of focus for the study, with “… aided audibility, duration and consistency of hearing aid use, and characteristics of caregiver input” as the three primary factors that impact the early childhood development of infants and preschoolers with hearing loss.
Their findings, published in October of this year, are largely positive. According to Tomblin, “… Our study shows that the risk can be minimized with early and aggressive intervention,” which highlights the need for properly fit hearing aids and “providing a rich linguistic environment around the child.”
Notably, in the study performed by Moeller and Tomblin, approximately 35% of the participants who used hearing aid services did not have properly fitted equipment. This can lead to poorer rates of language development, according to their findings, and is important to consider in any case of early childhood hearing loss.
Although their study is thorough and comprehensive, the field of study concerning early childhood development is still in its infancy. According to the University of Iowa’s article on the subject, newborn hearing screening was not widely used until 1993, which contributed to the widespread ignorance on the subject of effective treatment.
If you have any questions regarding the treatment of hearing loss in children, visit our hearing center, or take a look at our website. We offer consultation, hearing health care, and hearing aid services. To learn more, contact us today.
Moeller, M., & Tomblin, B. (2015, October 27). An Introduction to the Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss Study. Retrieved November 19, 2015, from http://journals.lww.com/ear-hearing/Fulltext/2015/11001/An_Introduction_to_the_Outcomes_of_Children_with.2.aspx
Gray, L. (2015, October 27). Helping children hear better. Retrieved November 19, 2015, from http://now.uiowa.edu/2015/10/helping-children-hear-better
University of Iowa. (2015, October 27). Helping kids hear better: First-of-its-kind study shows kids with hearing loss benefit from early intervention. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151027213637.htm