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Experts Urge Hearing Tests for Kids

Thursday, 13 Dec 2012 10:13 AM




Planning to give a child or grandchild an iPod or other portable music player this holiday season? Maybe you should think about also paying for a hearing test.
That’s the recommendation of hearing specialists who have just released a new survey of parents showing most support the idea of testing children — up to age 17, at least — for hearing loss and impairment.
The University of Michigan Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health asked a nationwide sample of parents if they support requirements for hearing screening and where they'd prefer to have it done. More than two-thirds said they back hearing screenings across all age groups. Most also prefer a doctor’s office for screening preschoolers and 6- to 7-year-olds, and a school-based program for tweens and teens.
Jaynee Handelsman, director of pediatric audiology for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, noted screening in preschool and elementary school-age children is routine in many states and helps to identify children with hearing loss that can impact communication, speech, and learning.
But Handlesman added: "Hearing screening for tweens and teens is uncommon. However, as the parents in our poll recognize, children in these age groups may develop hearing loss as time goes on, possibly from extended listening to loud noise, such as through personal, portable listening devices like MP3 players."
Loud music played through earbuds, headphones, and personal audio devices can be damaging, particularly if children are constantly plugged into music players, computers, video games, and other electronics.
"Hearing loss is an invisible disability, and does not result in hospitalization if untreated — but the costs can be social, emotional, and educational," said Marci M. Lesperance, M.D., division chief of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan Health System. "We really wanted to know how parents felt about requiring hearing screenings, and no one had asked the public about this before."

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New report backs hearing tests for children who listen to loud music through earbuds and audio devices.
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2012-13-13
Thursday, 13 Dec 2012 10:13 AM
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