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Understanding how children listen and learn

toddler on the piano

If you’re a parent, you’re probably aware that there’s a big difference between when your kids hear you and when they listen to you. But did you know that, in addition to promoting good behaviour, listening plays a crucial role in a child’s development and how they learn? Here’s a look at the importance of listening and the effects of hearing impairments.

Early development and listening in school

The ability to hear and listen are key building blocks for language development and learning how to communicate. However, hearing and listening also play significant roles in other facets of childhood development such as emotional bonding and socializing.

In addition, listening is an important skill for children to acquire before they start school, as a majority of classroom teaching is verbal. Keep in mind that listening encompasses much more than just hearing. It’s what allows your child to follow directions, understand what’s being said, ask pertinent questions, improve their reading skills and more.

How a hearing impairment affects learning

Since listening plays such a vital role in children’s development, untreated hearing loss can cause delays in speech and language. This can make it harder for them to learn, which can lead to poor academic performance, low self-esteem, misbehaviour, anxiety and other problems. In some cases, the child may even be misdiagnosed with a learning disability such as attention deficit disorder (ADD).

How to prevent hearing loss in children

While some hearing loss can be congenital or the result of a condition, disease or injury, noise-induced hearing loss is entirely preventable. Since this type of hearing impairment is caused by prolonged or repeated exposure to loud noises (over 85 decibels), here are some ways you can protect your children’s hearing:

  • Keep the volume on computers and TVs at the lowest setting that still allows them to hear clearly.
  • Reduce their exposure to sources of loud noises such as concerts, fireworks, lawnmowers and power tools.
  • Encourage them to wear earplugs or earmuffs if they’ll be around sources of loud, potentially harmful noises.
  • Purchase headphones with a feature that prevents them from raising the volume over a certain number of decibels.

Family-friendly hearing clinics in Alberta

The team at Soundwave Hearing Care is committed to helping people of all ages hear better. That’s why we offer comprehensive pediatric hearing care at our clinics in Calgary, Grande Prairie, High River and Lethbridge. Whether your infant is missing hearing milestones or your teen needs hearing aids, you can count on our audiologists to provide friendly, professional care. Contact us today to book an appointment.