I was surfing, and found a post about a recent study and article, called: “Effect of Minimal Hearing Loss on Children’s Ability to Multitask in Quiet and in Noise“. The full text in a PDF format, and more info can be found here: http://lshss.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/39/3/342.
The abstract reads:
Effect of Minimal Hearing Loss on Children’s Ability to Multitask in Quiet and in Noise
– Brittany McFadden, Andrea Pittman, Arizona State University, Tempe
Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of minimal hearing loss (HL) on children’s ability to perform simultaneous tasks in quiet and in noise.
Method: Ten children with minimal HL and 11 children with normal hearing (NH) participated. Both groups ranged in age from 8 to 12 years. The children categorized common words (primary task) while completing dot-to-dot games (secondary task) in quiet as well as in noise presented at 0 dB and +6 dB signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). It was hypothesized that the children’s progression through the dot-to-dot games would slow as they encountered more difficult listening environments. This hypothesis was based on the theory that listeners have limited cognitive resources to allocate to any combination of tasks.
Results: The dot rate of both groups decreased similarly in the multitasking conditions relative to baseline. However, no other differences between groups or listening conditions were revealed. Significantly poorer word categorization was observed for the children with minimal HL in noise.
Conclusion: These data suggest that children with minimal HL may be unable to respond to a difficult listening task by drawing resources from other tasks to compensate.
I found this article very interesting… a little discouraging… but, mostly I am glad that this is being researched and that the needs of children with mild hearing loss is being acknowledged. >
The article mentions:
In fact, several studies have reported that children with minimal HL experience many of the same difficulties as those experienced by children with more severe HL (Davis et al., 1986; Kenworthy et al., 1990). Unfortunately, there remains a prevailing perception among physicians, parents, and teachers that the consequences of minimal HL in childhood are likewise minimal.
That last sentence rings very true for me. I was guilty of it myself. For years I believed that my son was “ok”. Better than “Ok”, and that his hearing loss wasn’t a “real” issue. Can you say, “Denial” ?.
Actually, it’s more than denial. It’s called “Positive Coping”.
I learned about that also when my son was in third grade and I suddenly realized that he really did need some help. I read more about it in articles like “hard of hearing children: STILL OVERLOOKED” – and realized that was exactly what had happened with my son. I read the following:
“The Double Edge of “Positive Coping”
Responding parents also described important positive coping abilities that they and their children had developed. The interviews showed parents’ acceptance of their child’s hearing status and their attachment to and admiration for their children as unique individuals with talents and endearing characteristics. These children are meeting and surpassing their parents’ expectations:
- “She’s a wonderful, outgoing little girl. She’s got lots of personality and a strong love for animals…She’s a wonderful kid and I think deafness is part of her personality.”
- “She’s very outgoing, on the go all the time…She’s always very bright, very seldom sad…She’s basically the light of my life… coming along very well.”
- “He’s very energetic and active and a real good singer. He’s got a wonderful personality, likes other kids, and he’s a character. People really enjoy being around him. Loves…vehicles and anything he can take apart and explore, loves the outside. “
Paradoxically, the positive coping skills developed by hard of hearing children sometimes contributed to their difficulties. These children typically communicated very well in one-on-one and face-to-face interactions, and their good lip-reading skills tended to mask the extent of their hearing loss, lulling parents and teachers into believing that they understood more than they did.”
Yup. That was what happened with us alright!
I didn’t even realize my son COULD read lips until third grade when I found out he was reading them constantly and was really pretty good at it! I was so wrapped up in what a great kid he was… how smart he was…how GREAT he was doing… that I didn’t realize what his hearing loss really entailed or that he needed some help.
I suppose all parents want to think their children are “just fine”. Fortunately, I think most parents also have a stronger need to help their child if they are struggling with something – to take care of them.
We can’t do that, however, if we don’t first accept there is a problem? Or two or three. Because really, the “problem(s)” are not just my son’s hearing loss, but also my own (and others) misunderstandings, the “system’s” that don’t work, and much more. Once problems are identified and acknowledged, we then need to strive to understand them, and find out what needs are there, and how best to meet those needs.
We can’t rely on doctors, teachers, and schools to tell us what our HOH children need (unfortunately). Nobody will ever know our child like their own mother can. And, if we don’t know beans about what their exact issue is – then, we sure as heck better try to educate ourselves and learn about it. Only then can we help educate our children, and those that play a part in our lives (teachers, friends, family). We must advocate for our children with the hopes that someday they can advocate for themselves.
I’ll get off my soap-box – but, I wish somebody would have told me all that when my son was first diagnosed with a hearing loss. Then again, it’s just common sense, isn’t it? I mean, don’t we ALL have issues to deal with? And, isn’t the first step in dealing with ANY issue or problem to first acknowledge there IS an issue?
Live and learn… and live some more… and learn some more…
I hope Brittany McFadden and Andrea Pittman continue their research and continue to bring these issues out in the open.
Filed under: child hearing loss, diagnosed, educational needs, grieving, hearing aids, lip read, positive coping, stigma, third grade | Tagged: Hard of Hearing, hearing aids, Hearing Disability, Hearing Impaired, mild hearing loss, Moderate Hearing Loss, stigma, third grade |