Minimal Hearing Loss is Non-negligible- Recognizing the Challenges for the Children
“My kid’s one ear is not hearing sounds; does that mean she needs to wear a hearing aid forever?”
“My child just entered the elementary school but he can’t focus at school and speaks unclearly. What should I do?”
Among the children with hearing loss, there are a group of children whose conditions seem to be less severe and thus tend to be neglected. These particular children possibly have mild hearing loss, one-side hearing loss, and high-frequency hearing loss. We call them childrenwith minimal hearing loss . They indeed have lighter hearing loss and usually can respond when engaging in conversations. Therefore, sometimes it is hard to detect their symptoms.
They can hear and understand, so there should not be any problem. This is the stereotype for children with minimal hearing loss. In fact, just like every near-sighted person should wear glasses regardless of the severity, people with hearing problems should wear hearing aids. We should not ignore it and do nothing just because the issue is not significant.
To help children with minimal hearing loss who are usually overlooked and treated passively, Children’s Hearing Foundation (CHF) is launching Minimal Hearing Loss Family Service and Promotion Project with series of events to increase the awareness of the public, medical service providers, as well as families with minimally hearing-impaired children and help them understand minimal hearing loss correctly to promote friendly communication. CHF created a theme website with cute cartoon characters and interactive games to illustrate different types of minimal hearing loss and help the public gain more knowledge about the needs and challenges of people with minimal hearing loss. The website also provides practical communication skills, enables the public to develop good habits of using ears, and demonstrates the chart of “minimal hearing loss warning signs” so that parents can check their children’s hearing health at home.
In addition to the website, CHF held a series of seminars and speech events about minimal hearing loss and invited clinical service providers and parents of children with minimal hearing loss to join. The series aim to promote professional knowledge and right concepts. CHF hopes that we can help minimally-impaired children get more resources by connecting various stakeholders. CHF also developed the walk-in consulting service utilizing our existing hearing examinations. When CHF audiologists perform this service, they not only remind parents the possible challenges ahead and how to communicate with school teachers, but also provide psychological support and encouragement.