Hearing Loss in Kids and Teens: Here are the Warning Signs

Kids today are more "plugged in" than ever. With most tweens and teens, and even younger kids frequently using smart phones and tablets, they are also spending more time using headphones or ear buds to listen to music or watch videos. Increased headphone time is resulting in greater hearing loss in kids that is just beginning to be measured.

"Approximately 12 percent of kids between ages six and 19 have some kind of noise-induced hearing loss," says Dr. K.B. Frazier, Chief Audiologist at the Center for Hearing & Speech in St. Louis. "We'll start to see the impact later, the longer people are wearing them. That's really the issue – long-term usage."

With kids often using headphones at school as well as at home, Dr. Frazier recommends frequent breaks between usage, especially if they are listening at louder volumes, which increases the chance of creating hearing impairment. As for over the ear headphones versus ear buds, Dr. Frazier says, "Ear buds allow for good, clear sound at a lower volume because it's closer to the eardrum. However, people tend to crank them up. There are both types available that have output limiters on them – so I'd start with those."

From the earliest ages, parents should be tuned in to possible signs of hearing loss in their kids. If a child is not responding to a parent's request when they are in close proximity, there could be something wrong. "If when you're face-to-face with them having a conversation, they seem to hear you great, but the minute they turn around they aren't able to understand, that's also a sign," says Dr. Frazier.

Asking for the TV volume to be turned up when others can hear it clearly may also indicate a hearing issue.

Monitoring their performance in school, particularly in terms of spelling or reading, is important for both teachers and parents. If a young child is unable to clearly hear the sounds of the syllables that make up a word, he or she won't be able to accurately reproduce it. Fortunately, many schools offer annual hearing screenings, which parents should take advantage of. Dr. Frazier also recommends that all newborns receive a screening.

"If they don't pass, be diligent about going back to get rescreened. It's the only way determine if there was something leftover in the ear from birth or if there's a real hearing loss. The earlier we can catch it, the easier it will be to treat it and get these kids so they can develop speech and language as normally as possible," he says.

After that, children should get hearing screenings at least every two years. The Center is hosting a Free Clinic Day on Saturday, May 6 where kids ages one and older can get free hearing and speech screenings, as well as vision screenings for kids ages three and up. Adults can also get a free hearing screening and learn about the difference that hearing aids can make. An appointment is required to attend. Call (314) 737-5091 to reserve a spot. 

 

Share This Story

Amy Burger is a mom, freelance writer and communications professional with nearly 20 years experience working in St. Louis. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and media outlets including STL Parent, Missouri Life magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Town & Style and kdhx.org, among others. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two beautiful girls at home in Kirkwood.

Our Daily Things to Do email is the easiest way to plan your day.
Follow Us
 
Want daily ideas of things to do? How about special offers & giveaways? Sign up and we’ll handle the rest.
Things to Do

Mad Science Time at Play Street Museum
Sunday, February 25, 2024

Calling all budding scientists! Let's experiment, measure, and mix things up a bit with a morning full of exploration at Mad Science Time. Kids will get to be hands-on experimenting. All activities can be explored freely and playtime is included. 

View this event »
Paws for Reading from the St. Louis County Library
Monday, February 26, 2024
Monday, March 4, 2024
Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Read to a friendly therapy dog from DUO Dogs, Inc. After the story, the dog's handler will answer any questions kids have about therapy dogs, pet care and more. For ages 3-11. Registration is required for this free program. 

View this event »
Kindermusik Playdate
Monday, February 26, 2024
Friday, March 22, 2024
Monday, April 22, 2024

Are you interested in learning more about Kindermusik before committing to a full semester? Are you unsure how your baby or child will respond in a group setting? Join Kindermusik for a musical playdate and see firsthand how singing, moving, playing instruments, and dancing together has the power keep us connected, fuel kids' brains and bring joy. 

View this event »
You Might Also Like...

From Our Sponsors
Popular Stories

COCA Ignites Creativity and Sparks Fun for Kids of All Ages, All Summer Long

Stroll along the Walk of Fame in the Delmar Loop, and you’ll spot the playwrights, actors, and artists who got their start in St. Louis, from Tennessee Williams and Katherine Dunham, to Tina Turner and John Goodman. Just a few steps away and around the corner, a new generation of Gateway City superstars will discover their love for the visual and performing arts this summer.

Continue reading »
Life Lessons Learned at Overnight Camp

With the perfect blend of adventure and responsibility, camp life teaches kids valuable lessons they can use for the rest of their lives. If you send your child to overnight camp, here are some life lessons they are likely to learn.

Continue reading »
10 Reasons Your Teen Might Love to be a Camp Counselor

Day or sleepaway summer camp is the perfect place for teens to transition to the world of the employed. The paycheck is nice, but being a summer camp counselor has other rewards, too.

Continue reading »
Parenting the Video Game Fanatic: How to Encourage Other Interests

Every now and then I wonder if it is worth investing money and time into classes or sports my son doesn’t want to participate in. But if I hold off on signing him up for things, he does nothing except play video games until we try something new again. It’s a never-ending cycle.

Continue reading »
7 Valentine's Traditions to Start with Your Kids

Valentine’s Day is traditionally a time for couples to express their love for one another, but it is also a great chance to show your children how much you love them too. While children typically exchange cards and small gifts on Valentine's Day, this year try starting some fun new traditions for your family. 

Continue reading »
Follow Us