Minor Hearing Loss Can Mean Major School Problems
By Christina Elston

Children with minor hearing impairments – such as hearing loss in one ear, or the inability to hear high-pitched sounds – can be up to 10 times more likely to have trouble in school, or even fail a grade, than children with normal hearing, according to new research.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) presented those findings at its annual convention in November.

These types of hearing loss often go undetected, because the children appear to hear normally. However, in a classroom environment the problems can lead to difficulty hearing the teacher and poor academic performance.

Linda Vaughan, director of audiology practice management at ASHA, recommends asking your child’s teacher the following questions if you are concerned about your child’s hearing:

Does my child seem to not be following instructions, particularly oral instructions?

Are there particular classroom situations that he or she seems to fall apart in?

Does he or she become inattentive when there is background noise?

Do you have to repeat and raise your voice to get her or his attention?

Because routine school screenings may miss minor hearing deficits, parents with concerns should seek an evaluation from a pediatric audiologist. For referrals, contact ASHA at 800-638-8255 or check out

Related Reading:

  • How Children Learn to Speak and What to Do If You Suspect Problems


  • Turn it Down: How to Protect Young Ears from Loud Sounds

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    Christina Elston is a freelance writer who specializes in family health issues.

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