In Australia around 350 children a year are born with a permanent hearing loss. They are routinely identified within weeks of birth and have hearing aids and cochlear implants fitted well before they start school. So why are they still lagging behind their hearing peers in language?
Dr Valerie Sung and Dr Peter Carew, University of Melbourne write:
“In the last 20 years, we’ve made dramatic advances in the early detection of hearing loss in newborn babies and in providing early access to hearing aids and cochlear implants.
For example, since 2012 in Victoria, the median age at which hearing loss is detected in newborns is measured in just weeks; this compared to a median 20 months of age back in 1989.
And in 2018, more than 2,800 Australian children were fitted with either a hearing aid or cochlear implant for the first time, many within the first year of life, and the majority prior to starting school.
Given this massive improvement in early detection and intervention it could have been expected that hearing impaired children would have quickly come to enjoy the same language and educational outcomes as their hearing peers.
But this hasn’t happened consistently for all children and we don’t know why.
The evidence that does exist is focused on the outcomes of children with cochlear implants – those children who have the greatest level of hearing loss.
Yet, the majority of hearing-impaired children have a milder degree of hearing loss.
It may be then that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not the most effective way to assist impacted children achieve language outcomes that match their cognitive potential.
Is it possible that children with mild hearing loss don’t benefit from hearing aids to the same extent as children with more severe hearing impairment?
Do we have an issue with terminology, where parents consider a ‘mild’ hearing loss as something not to be concerned about and, therefore, they may feel early intervention is less important?”
(Ed: Are children who would benefit from learning Auslan not getting access to it?)
Read the entire article at https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/…/hearing-loss-still-a-chall…