Hearing Loss Can Hurt Language Use

ST. LOUIS, May 12 (UPI) — Hearing loss in one ear can hinder a child’s understanding and use of language, U.S. researchers find.

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis tested language comprehension and expression in 74 children — ages 6-12 with hearing loss in one ear. For a control group, each child was matched with a normal hearing sibling to minimize environmental and genetic factors.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found children with hearing in one ear had poorer oral language scores than children with hearing in both ears.

The researchers said hearing loss — often undiagnosed — may be mistaken for lack of attention or selective hearing.

“The effect of hearing loss in one ear may be subtle,” study lead author Dr. Judith Lieu said in a statement.

“These children may shun large group situations because the noise overwhelms them and they have a hard time understanding speech. They could have difficulties playing team sports because they can’t localize sound well and can’t tell who is calling to them.”

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