Hearing Impairment May Affect Visual Learning

Hearing Impairment May Affect Visual Learning


If you’re a parent, we know you want the best for your children. You work hard to provide them with everything they need, and give them all the love and attention they deserve. It can be heartbreaking to learn that your child has hearing loss, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Not only will hearing loss affect your child’s ability to learn and grow, it could also affect visual learning, so it’s important to treat their hearing loss as soon as possible.

Studying Hearing Loss in Children

Many studies have looked at hearing loss in children, discovering how hearing loss affects children’s ability to grow and learn. Cognitive development in children with hearing loss is far slower than in children with clear hearing, and these differences start in early infancy. A new study by the Ohio State University College of Medicine looked at when these differences in cognitive abilities emerge.

To determine how children with hearing loss learn, and to find out how they fall so far behind their hearing peers, Clair Monroy and Derek Houston studied visual processing skills, and discovered that it takes hard of hearing babies far longer to become familiar with new objects, and learn about their surroundings. Not only is auditory processing affected, but a hearing impairment also affects the visual learning process!

Monroy and Houston tested 23 hearing infants and 23 deaf infants, and tested their visual processing skills. They showed the babies a colorful object on a screen, and when the baby encoded the object, they’d lose interest and look away. Infants who couldn’t hear looked at the object 30 seconds longer than hearing infants, or 40% slower than the hearing infants!

Learning at a Slower Pace

Children who struggle to hear often learn at a slower pace than their hearing peers. They are unable to focus on tasks, concentrate, or complete simple tasks. The fact that those with hearing loss are also slower at learning things visually comes as a surprise to many people. “This is somewhat counterintuitive because a lot of people assume that deaf children compensate for their lack of hearing by being better at processing visual things, but the findings of the study show the opposite.” Monroy explains.

For infants with hearing loss, learning about the world around them is a challenge. They’re not getting the input they need to make sense of the world, and may feel more lost and alone than their hearing peers. When they reach school age, they’ll have a hard time interacting with peers, paying attention to the teacher, and keeping up with the kids in the class.

Treating Hearing Loss

If your child has hearing loss, it’s of utmost importance that you treat their hearing loss as soon as possible. “Understanding the source of these differences can really help us tailor interventions specifically for these children,” Monroy said. “And the earlier that happens, the better.” You child needs clear hearing in order to learn about the world around them, engage with objects in their environment, and bond with family members. To give your child the life they deserve, invest in their hearing health.

Hearing loss is a growing issue among teens as well. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion young people are at risk for hearing loss. With advancements in technology and the ubiquitous use of electronic devices to stream audio, it is important to make sure that your teens are taking precautions. Preventative measures, such as adhering to the 60-60 rule (60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time), are important when it comes to protecting your little one’s hearing.

Hearing Consultants

When it comes to your hearing health, Hearing Consultants has you covered. Whether you need hearing devices or a loved one is struggling to hear, we’re here to help. Your journey to clear hearing for you and your entire family will start with a comprehensive hearing test, so we’ll get a clear picture of your hearing health and hearing needs. We’ll then recommend the perfect hearing devices that will match your lifestyle and hearing loss, and allow you to get back to hearing all the amazing sounds around you. Visit us at Hearing Consultants today.


Tips for Students with Hearing Loss

Tips for Students with Hearing Loss


Help your child, or your college-bound student do the best they can in an educational setting by reviewing some of these tips. At Hearing Consultants, we are always happy to help you with issues that might come up during the busy back-to-school time. Remember, the best thing you can do for your student is to have an up-to-date hearing test!

Back to school

There are more than 70,000 children in the public school system that receive services to help with hearing loss issues, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. These services are critical for your child because children learn to talk and set up sentence structure by listening to others talk. Children with hearing loss can find it difficult to learn vocabulary, grammar, word order and other components of verbal communication.

Let everyone know what is going on

Help your child, if he or she is old enough, to talk to teachers and fellow students about their hearing loss. A confident matter-of-fact approach will make other students approach the hearing loss the same way. It sends a message it isn’t a disability or something weird, just an issue that needs to be dealt with – like some children need glasses, some need hearing aids, some are allergic to peanuts or bee stings.

Make sure to explain to bus drivers, aides that might ride the bus as well as school monitors that they need to speak clearly to your child and it is best to stand in front of them and talk to them.

Remind your child it is perfectly fine to ask questions during class, at the appropriate time, if they don’t understand something or they can approach the teacher after class.

Set up an IEP

An Individualized Education Plan is a legally binding program that sets up a common understanding between you, your child, the teacher and the school on how your child will be taught including accommodations to deal with hearing issues.

Public schools, by law, must adhere to the IEP. It’s a basic guide on what essentials are needed to help your child succeed. It’s a good idea to review it every year and get a new one if your child moves to a different school.

Get the proper tools in place

Some children have an easier time listening in class if they have a personal listening device like an FM system. Teachers wear the device around their neck to amplify their voices in your child’s hearing aids. Your child will have to expend a lot less energy listening and focusing if they are hearing at a level they find comfortable.

If you child struggles taking notes and keeping up because there is some extra sound processing time that is needed, you can ask for a note-taker. Some schools just hire someone to take notes and others pick a student that is a good note-taker and have them duplicate their notes.

After school activities

After a hard day of listening, sports or musical after school activities will help them keep being a kid. A short chat with a coach or music teacher about hearing loss and your child and let them blow off some steam.

University students and hearing loss

By law, public universities – and any facility that is financed by public funds – needs to make allowances for the hearing impaired. College lecture halls can have poor acoustics, so some universities employ sing-language interpreters. Very often even non-academic functions have sign language interpreters available.

Professional note-takers are also sometimes utilized, and lecture notes are uploaded directly to the web. Some universities have a screens with text displays of the lectures. Professors also use personal listening devices during lectures to make sure if they are facing a blackboard or white board, everyone can hear what is being said.
Prior to the start of the school year, you should find out what student services are available for the hearing impaired and where the student services office is located. Communicate via e-mail with your instructors about your hearing loss and what needs you must be successful. Plan for safety at your residence hall by taking to the residence hall director about emergency exits as well as a personal alert device.

Find a hearing health provider

Hearing Consultants will help you out with what you need before you leave for school and if you need to find a closer provider, we can help with that. Remember to have an undated hearing test before you start school in case your hearing aids need to be adjusted.