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

Boo at the Zoo Nights

Explore the St. Louis Zoo after dark at Boo at the Zoo. Bring your little ghouls and goblins to this non-scary celebration designed just for kids. Though this is not a trick-or-treating experience, costumes are encouraged.

View this event »
Toddler Tinker Time

Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House for special experiences designed especially for preschoolers. Weekday mornings, Tuesday through Friday, families will enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Studio, plus private playtime featuring limited capacity in Wonder Works and Wonder Why.

View this event »
Halloween Magic at The Magic House

Halloween is bigger and more boo-tiful than ever at The Magic House! Visit The Magic House for Halloween Magic, featuring outdoor experiences, decorating mini pumpkins, a spiderweb maze, Halloween-themed trike town and all of your favorite Magic House exhibits – with a Halloween twist!

View this event »
School's Out Camp at Artscope
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

When school is closed, Artscope's School's Out Camp is open! When school is out, enroll your child in Artscope's School's Out camps. These one-day camps offer creative and enriching fun for kids during school days off. 

 

View this event »
You Might Also Like...

From Our Sponsors
Popular Stories

It’s Pumpkin Time! Find Down-on-the-Farm Fun at These St. Louis Area Attractions

It’s not really fall in St. Louis until you get lost in a corn maze or spot that perfect pumpkin in a field of thousands. Thankfully, no matter where you live in the region, there’s a local farm right in your backyard offering a variety of autumn-themed attractions perfect for every member of the family, from toddlers to teens.

Continue reading »
Saint Louis Zoo Announces Halloween Happenings for 2021

For St. Louis families, it's not Halloween without trunk-or-treats, Halloween jokes from your neighborhood trick-or-treaters, and Boo at the Zoo. What's become a Halloween tradition is back, and – bonus! – so are Halloweekends and Zootoberfest. 

Continue reading »
Get Ready for Fall Fun with a Non-Stop Lineup of Family Friendly Events

Just as they’ve done for the past year and a half, St. Louis’ theater companies, museums and nonprofits have found creative ways to alter their events so they’re safe for everyone – without cutting down on any of the fun! Whether you want to take in a show, eat all the treats at a fall festival, or sit center ring at the circus, there’s an event worthy of a spot on your family’s busy calendar.

Continue reading »
The Verdict is In! Circus Flora Returns with “The Trial of The Century”

During Circus Flora’s 35th season, “The Trial of the Century” turns the traditional courtroom drama into a mesmerizing adventure where your family is at the center of the action. This criminally funny production highlights Circus Flora’s ability to create enthralling narratives that engage audience members while spotlighting inspirational performances that cause jaws to drop and eyes to pop.

Continue reading »
The Magic House Hosts Halloween Magic, Lots More in October

The Not-So-Haunted House at The Magic House has become a tradition for St. Louis families, with its storybook characters, trick-or-treat scavenger hunts and all the fun the Magic House offers year-round. This year, The Magic House is hosting Halloween Magic, meaning kids can enjoy the Not-So-Haunted House, Trick-or-Treat Town, plus lots more indoor and outdoor fun.

Continue reading »
Follow Us