Free guide helps parents address hearing loss in children

Hearing loss in more than a million American children is undetected or untreated, according to the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). That can cause more than academic problems; it can also lead to low-self esteem, attention deficit and difficulties understanding speech, especially when there is background noise. To help meet this challenge, the BHI is making available a free "Guide to Your Child's Hearing," which gives parents practical tips about how to recognize and address hearing loss in children. The guide was written by Judith Gravel, M.D., director of the Center for Childhood Communication at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, a multidisciplinary center that integrates audiology, speech language pathology, educational and family support services to meet the specific needs of each child.

In the new BHI guide, Dr. Gravel shows parents:

  • How to recognize the signs of normal hearing at different developmental stages;
  • How to detect signs of hearing problems;
  • The many treatment options that are now available.

"Our research shows one reason children with hearing problems aren't getting help is that some parents think that hearing aids will stigmatize their kids, embarrass them and cause people such as peers to treat them differently," said Dr. Sergei Kochkin, executive director of the not-for-profit BHI, which promotes better hearing with research and educational initiatives. "Parents often minimize their child's hearing loss despite strong evidence that even a mild hearing problem can cause behavioral and learning problems. If parents don't help their children and themselves--to overcome the stigma associated with hearing problems, they are really shortchanging their kids. New hearing instruments have been developed specifically for children. Some come in bright colors and kids are even proud to wear them. So there is just no excuse for ignoring this problem."

"Even seemingly minor hearing problems can


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