Back-to-School Hearing Tests Ensure Children Are Ready to Learn

Sound Relief Hearing Center’s Dr. Julie Prutsman Addresses Hearing Issues Among School-Aged Children.
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In conjunction with the end of the summer, Dr. Julie Prutsman of Sound Relief Hearing Center, Colorado’s premier provider of hearing and tinnitus services, today released recommendations for parents of school-aged children on child-specific hearing issues. Hearing loss and tinnitus are not uncommon in children, and these issues can greatly affect a child’s ability to learn and participate in classroom activities.

Dr. Julie reports that undiagnosed hearing loss can lead to a longer learning curve, speech and language delays, and even behavioral problems due to the child not hearing or understanding instructions. Kids are susceptible to chronic ear infections which can potentially lead to hearing loss. Developmental delay is a signal that the child may have a hearing issue and should visit an audiologist for a comprehensive exam.

“Colorado does have wonderful school audiologists to help kids with hearing loss, but parents are always the best advocates for their kids when they might need a little extra help,” said Dr. Julie. “By scheduling a hearing test prior to the start of classes, parents can avoid potential learning setbacks.”

In addition to hearing loss, tinnitus is not uncommon in children. Researchers believe that many children with tinnitus consider the noise in the ear to be normal, and therefore they may not complain or notify an adult. Further, the child may not distinguish between the psychological impact of tinnitus and its medical significance.

“Some teachers have reported that young students with tinnitus ask to go to the bathroom more often than others only to discover that they were using the sound of the water in the sink to mask the loud tinnitus in their ears,” stated Dr. Julie. “Continuous tinnitus can be annoying and distracting, and in severe cases can cause psychological distress and interfere with a child’s ability to learn and lead a normal life.”

If parents suspect their child has tinnitus, Dr. Julie suggests the child visit the family physician or pediatrician first. If the child does not have a specific problem with the ears such as middle ear inflammation with thick discharge, then it may be necessary to have an audiologist assessment. An audiologist may suggest a hearing instrument or other mitigating therapy to help combat specific hearing issues.

Before the start of the school year, Dr. Julie recommends parents follow the following steps:

1. Schedule a full diagnostic hearing test before the school year starts.

2. Monitor your child’s learning progress and look for signs of hearing loss. If you notice any delay in your child’s development, visit an audiologist for a comprehensive exam.

3. If your child wears a hearing instrument or has any special hearing needs, notify the child’s teacher before school starts. Provide the teacher with extra batteries for hearing devices if needed and outline any special needs the child may have to ensure they are able to participate in classroom activities.

Sound Relief Hearing Center specializes in custom hearing solutions and tinnitus and can provide consultations to anyone who may be experiencing a hearing issue. To learn more about Sound Relief Hearing Center, visit www.YourEarDoc.com.