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Impact of Hearing Loss on Children
A child may “hear” some sounds, but not hear all the sounds they need to in order to understand. Click here to learn more about the degrees of hearing loss. Below are possible impacts hearing loss may have on understanding language and speech:
16-25 dB Hearing Loss:
- Compared to the ability to hear when index fingers are placed in ears.
- Difficulty hearing faint or distant speech.
- At 16 dB hearing loss, child can miss up to 10% of speech signal when speaker is at a distance greater than 3 feet. Percentage of speech missed will be greater whenever there is background noise.
26-40 dB Hearing Loss:
- Greater listening difficulties than a “plugged-ear” hearing loss.
- Child can “hear” but misses fragments of speech leading to misunderstandings.
- At 30 dB hearing loss child can miss up to 25-40% of speech signal.
- At 40 dB child may miss 50% of classroom discussions.
- Often experiences difficulty learning early reading skills such as letter/sound associations.
41-55 dB Hearing Loss:
- At 50 dB hearing loss child may miss up to 80% of speech signal.
- Without early amplification, the child is likely to have delayed or disordered syntax, limited vocabulary, imperfect speech production, and flat voice quality.
- Even with hearing aids, if there is background noise, the child will miss much of what is being said.
56-70 dB Hearing Loss:
- Without amplification, a 55 dB hearing loss can cause a child to miss up to 100% of speech information.
- If hearing loss is not identified and appropriately managed before child is one year of age, it is very likely for child to have delayed spoken language, syntax, reduced speech intelligibility and flat voice quality.
- The age at which amplification begins, consistency of hearing aid use and early language intervention is strongly tied to the success of speech, language and learning development.
71-90 dB Hearing Loss:
- Without amplification, children with 71-90 dB hearing loss may only hear loud noises about 1 foot from ear.
- The earlier the child wears amplification consistently with parents and caregivers providing language opportunities throughout everyday activities, and/or intensive language intervention (sign or verbal) put into place, the greater the child’s chances are that speech, language and learning will development at a relatively normal rate.
- Individual ability and intensive intervention prior to 6 months of age will determine the degree that sounds detected will be understood by the brain and processed as meaningful input.
- A child with hearing loss greater than 70 dB may be a candidate for cochlear implants; A child with hearing loss greater than 90 dB will not be able to perceive most speech sounds with traditional hearing aids. Visit our cochlear implant page for more information.