Audiologist Vernae Luhr tests a student's hearing during the annual fall hearing screenings.

Hearing loss prevention, treatment imperative to educational and social development in students

The average person whispers at a mere 20 decibels while that same person’s chain saw registers at over 100 decibels. 

Every day people come in contact with sounds that fall within a safe listening range, but for as many that fall inside that safe level, there are nearly as many that climb far above that threshold. 

While there are many children who are born with hearing impairments, it’s not something that is only due to a birth defect. Otherwise healthy children can develop serious hearing impairments simply by being exposed to a noisy environment for a prolonged period of time. 

Literature isn’t readily available to most upon their child’s birth to help explain the importance of keeping infants in a quiet environment, but it is an extremely important factor in development. 

Educational Service Unit (ESU) #1 Audiologist Vernae Luhr discussed the challenges faced by children who have hearing impairments, be it due to a birth defect or because of exposure to loud noises over a prolonged period.

“We see the extremes in children with hearing impairments,” Luhr said. “Hearing loss can lead to extremely shy behavior to very boisterous behavior and social inadequacies or misunderstanding.”

Luhr said that a student spends 80 percent of their time gaining information from their teacher speaking. A startling statistic when considering that a student could be missing a significant amount of information, falling further behind each day, which is where ESU 1 hearing screenings come into play.

While the world may be getting louder and children may be exposed sooner to loud noises, Luhr said checking makes the difference.

“The bottom line is that if parents or teachers are suspecting issues, the sooner they let us know so we can check it out the better. The importance of having normal hearing from as early as possible is so high. If we can catch it as soon as possible, the better the prognosis is.”


**Editor's note: Look in the upcoming 2017 Medical Guide to find the full article.**

The Wayne Herald

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