If your child is suddenly experiencing a decline in academic success, there may be a cause you’ve never considered.
The American Academy of Audiology is recommending that any parents of a child with falling school grades take their child to be evaluated by an audiologist, as hearing loss may be to blame.
What signs should parents and teachers look for?
“In early school-aged children, inattentiveness and behavioral issues can be the first signs of abnormal hearing,” says Dr. Jonathan Sherman, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital.
The Academy also lists the following as signs of abnormal hearing:
- The child doesn’t respond to questions or responds inappropriately
- The child intently watches your face in an effort to understand what you’re saying
- Assignments are not completed, and the child doesn’t understand the task
- The child speaks loudly at inappropriate times
Dr. Sherman says another sign to watch for is speech delay.
“We often see young children who have speech delay in pediatric ENT clinic, as a relatively easily fixable cause of some such delay is hearing loss,” Dr. Sherman says. “Even if a child has one-sided hearing loss (which can often be hard for parents to identify), school performance can be affected, and treating the hearing loss has been shown to make a real difference in achievement.”
Although infants undergo hearing tests, as a child ages, loud noises, ear infections and other illnesses can affect hearing ability.
“One important thing for parents and teachers to remember is that hearing loss can present late or progress over time, and so a past normal hearing screening is not adequate to rule out hearing loss,” Dr. Sherman says. “Hearing loss may still be present and may be preventing a child from doing his or her best.”