When you think of hearing loss, you may first think about age-related hearing loss. However, kids experience hearing loss, too. Whether you and your children have normal hearing or experience a form of hearing loss, it is important to be educated on this topic. You can also help your children understand hearing loss and the experience of children who have different hearing abilities than they do.
First, it is helpful to understand the facts about hearing loss in children. Out of every 1,000 births in the United States, 2 to 3 of those children are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. In addition, 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents. For teenagers, it is estimated that 1 in 5 American teens experience some degree of hearing loss. Approximately 12.5 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have hearing loss due to listening to music at unsafe volumes, particularly through earbuds.
Hearing loss—whether it is mild or severe—can impact every aspect of a child’s life. A child with hearing loss can have difficulty building social connections, as well as encountering challenges in language development and learning. Even a mild form of hearing loss can result in a child missing up to 50 percent of what is taught in the classroom.
If you are a parent, teaching your children about hearing loss can help them better understand those with different abilities—whether your child has hearing loss or not. One great tool for teaching kids about hearing loss is by reading books with them about the subject. Children who read with their families experience closer relationships between child and parent, improved communication and logical thinking skills, better academic performance, and greater focus and discipline.
Here are some recommended books for children that address hearing loss in an accessible way:
For Children Ages 4-8
- A Birthday for Ben by Kate Gaynor
- A Button in Her Ear by Ada Bassett Litchfield
- Bessie Needs Hearing Aids by Jenna Harmke
- Cosmo Gets an Ear by Gary Clemente
- Dad and Me in the Morning by Patricia Lakin
- I Have a Sister, My Sister Is Deaf by Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson
For Children Ages 9-12
- Addy’s Race by Debby Waldman
- Cheshire Moon by Nancy Butts
- Jessi’s Secret Language by Ann Matthews Martin
- Rally Caps by Stephen J. and Jodi Michelle Cutler
- A Season of Change by Lois L. R. Hodge
- Hearing Our Way Magazine
These books address topics like children who are deaf or experience hearing loss, how they deal with social, school, and recreational situations, and treatments like hearing aids. If your child has hearing loss, these books can help them understand their own situation and how other children have dealt with similar challenges. For children with normal hearing, these books can help them understand inclusion and diversity.
To learn more about hearing loss in children, as well as resources for teaching children about hearing loss, we welcome you to contact our hearing office today. We look forward to assisting you and your family!