With nearly 15% of Australian primary school children affected by mild hearing loss, it’s vital parents have their kids’ ears tested before starting school as hearing issues can impact their development, learning ability and school readiness.
Jessica Balfour-Ogilvy is a speech pathologist and Clinical Manager of the Listening and Spoken Language Program at Hear and Say. Jessica shares her tips on how to identify mild hearing loss in kids and why it’s important to get your child’s hearing tested.
Listen to the full interview here:
When to have your child’s hearing checked
Mild hearing loss can impact a child’s ability to learn, speak and write, so make sure you get their hearing checked before they start school. Put simply, if the sound going in is not clear, the sound coming out won’t be clear either — meaning a child may not be able to pronounce words or spell correctly. Additionally, it’s not just in the classroom that kids might have a hard time, but also in the playground where it’s difficult for them to play with their friends or understand games if they can’t hear properly.
How to identify mild hearing loss
There are a few ways parents can identify whether their child may have hearing difficulties, such as:
- Often asking for things to be repeated. For example, always saying ‘what’ or ‘pardon’ — particularly when they can’t see your face when you speak (in the car).
- Unusual behaviour — particularly in noisy places.
- Suffering from ongoing colds, upper respiratory problems or ear infections
How to keep your child’s ears healthy
- Teach your child how to blow their nose well as it clears mucus out.
- If they’re playing in water a lot, try to keep their ears as dry as possible afterwards.
- Avoid exposing your children to smoky environments — as this can lead to infections.
- Make sure they maintain a healthy lifestyle — keeping active and eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
- If your child gets an ear infection, address it straight away by taking them to the doctor.
To get your child’s hearing checked, make an appointment with your GP, a child health nurse or even your local audiology clinic.
To read more articles about family health, visit Better Families.