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Unilateral and mild hearing loss in children, are hearing aids necessary? ~ Kristy Knight, M.S. FAAA, CCC-A, Pediatric Audiologist

We tend to think that we hear with our ears, but we really hear with our brain – the ears are just a way for sound to get to the brain.  The problem with hearing loss, any amount of hearing loss, is that it interferes with sound reaching the brain.  In order for babies to develop speech and spoken language, they must be exposed to sound early and often.  Babies with normal hearing are able to hear all of the speech sounds clearly and easily, and since the ears are always “on” babies are listening 24 hours a day.  When a child has hearing loss, even when the hearing loss is mild or unilateral, some of the speech signal is reduced, distorted, or eliminated.

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Abuse and Neglect: the Ugly Truth

Hands & Voices recently  interviewed Harold Johnson, PhD, from Michigan State   University on the subject  of Deaf/Hard of Hearing child abuse and neglect.  Please consider filling out the survey  mentioned at the end of this interview.

Q How serious is the problem of child abuse and neglect for  deaf or hard of hearing children?

Very serious!  While more research is needed to  determine the exact rate at which children who are deaf/hard of hearing  experience child neglect and/or abuse, it is known that children with  disabilities are MUCH more likely to experience child neglect and/or abuse than  their hearing peers, and that when the experience occurs it continues over a  longer period of time.

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To Sedate or Not: Parents Right to Informed Consent

Editorial by Janet DesGeorges and Sara Kennedy, Colorado Families for H&V

It is time to end the unnecessary sedation of infants  for diagnostic ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response testing) in the process of the  1-3-6 model in Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) systems.  The risk of sedation in infants is well known  and should be avoided when possible. Infants who are younger than six months  are at higher risk for serious adverse events; including hypoxia, allergic  reaction, airway obstruction, and even death.   For many of us parents, concerns about sedation are dismissed with a  “it’s perfectly safe” statement. However, even a brief review of the medical  literature indicates that sedation is far from a routine, predictable,  standardized procedure.

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Mild Hearing Loss: What to do? -Don Plapinger, Ed.D CCC-A Director Clinical Audiology, OHSU

In 2001, the Oregon Legislature passed a law mandating that all infants born at birth centers with more than 200 births a year had to have a hearing screening prior to leaving the hospital. Smaller birthing centers had to provide information to families on where they could get a free screening. Prior to this law, the average age of identification of childhood hearing loss was approximately 2 ½ years. Since the law’s inception this has dropped to under 6 months. Clearly this has been a great advancement in treating childhood hearing loss.

When we think about hearing loss, we tend to focus on children with severe to profound hearing loss.

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