Parents want hearing tested for older kids too

December 20, 2012

Adolescents who use earbuds and headphones with their music players and game systems could be damaging their hearing without knowing it. Now parents overwhelmingly want them screened for hearing loss, says the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s HospitalNational Poll on Children’s Health.

 

Adolescents who use earbuds and headphones with their music players and game systems could be damaging their hearing without knowing it. Now parents overwhelmingly want them screened for hearing loss, says the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

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Researchers asked a nationwide sample of parents of children aged from birth to 17 years if they support requiring hearing screenings for children at all ages and where they prefer to have the screenings done.

Results showed that two-thirds of parents are in favor of hearing screenings for all children, ranging from 67% support for screenings in adolescents aged 16 and 17 years to 71% support for children aged 10 to 11 years, 77% for children aged 2 to 3 years, and 82% for kids aged 6 and 7 years. Parents of preschoolers prefer screenings to be done in their primary care physicians’ offices while parents of older children prefer school-based testing.

About 10% of parents said they would like to see screenings performed by audiologists or ear-nose-throat specialists, which may indicate they already have had experience with hearing loss in their own children.

Hearing screenings for newborns through elementary school-aged children already are routine in many states. Hearing loss affects speech, language, and learning in children, so screening usually is done early for younger children so that prompt treatment can alleviate any developmental delays. Routine screening of adolescents is not as common, but these children may be more at risk for hearing loss because they listen to loud music through earbuds and headphones with portable audio devices, computers, and game systems, often for long duration.

Researchers say that the results of the poll show strong support for comprehensive hearing screening especially among older children, and they suggest that primary care providers partner with audiologists and otolaryngologists to accommodate parents who request continual screening as their kids get older.