2pAAa2. Impact of hearing loss on children in typical school environments.

Session: Tuesday Afternoon, June 17

Author: Peggy B. Nelson
Location: Div. of Otolaryngol., Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine, 16 S. Eutaw St., Ste. 500, Baltimore, MD 21201


Every school can expect to have children with hearing loss. Every teacher in the early grades can expect that every day there is a child in that classroom who has trouble hearing. Ear infections (otitis media, or OM) are the most frequent medical diagnosis for children. The National Center for Health Care Statistics estimates that (per 100 children per year) there are 70 OM cases in children under the age of 5 years, and 14 cases in children ages 5--17 years. Additionally, two have other permanent hearing losses. Hearing loss causes significant educational problems. Academic delays occur in children with mild hearing loss as early as first grade. Traditional classrooms are noisy. In many classrooms, the child in the middle of the room functions at 0-dB signal-to-noise or worse. Noise and reverberation combine to produce adverse effects on speech understanding by hard-of-hearing children. As S/N and reverberation times get worse, the performance gap between children with and without hearing loss increases. Children with hearing loss require 10--12 dB more favorable S/N than others to achieve the same word recognition scores. Hearing loss and poor classroom acoustics adversely impact learning for significant numbers of children.

ASA 133rd meeting - Penn State, June 1997