Hearing Loss and Hearing Difficulties in School Aged Children

Hearing Loss and Hearing Difficulties in School Aged Children


Worldwide 5 out of every 1000 children are born with a hearing loss. A further 3 in every 1000 children will acquire a hearing loss in early childhood. Hearing loss can happen at any time during life.

CAPD: What is it?

How do we diagnose and treat it?

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) refers to child’s inability to process auditory information correctly. Many children with normal hearing present with CAPD and in turn learning, reading and attention difficulties.

Some causes of hearing loss and hearing difficulties in children include:

  • Recurrent Otitis media (middle ear infections)
  • Fluid fills middle ear space
  • Sound moving through middle ear becomes dampened causing a conductive hearing loss
  • Fluctuating hearing loss can cause speech and language delay,
  • • Difficulty hearing and concentrating in class and CAPD

Central auditory processing involves:

  • Auditory discrimination: Ability to hear the difference between certain sounds such as “p” and “b”
  • emporal processing: Auditory pattern recognition; analysis and synthesis of sounds. This refers to the child’s ability to break up words into individual sounds
  • Auditory performance in a noisy distracting environment
  • Sound localization and lateralization: Ability to tell where a sound is coming from

Assessment of CAPD:

CAPD can be assessed from the age of 4 years although the previous age was seen as only from 7 years old CAPD is assessed and treated by both Audiologists and Speech Language Therapists;

Treatment of CAPD:

Treatment of CAPD is conducted by Audiologists and Speech Language CAPD can be treated with an FM system. An FM system assists in improving the signal to noise ratio in a classroom

FM systems transmit sound using radio waves. The FM system transmits sound from a microphone that is worn or used by a teacher, parent or any other communication partner directly to the child’s ear. This ensures that the child receives an adequate and accurate acoustic signal at the ear level and is better able to hear and concentrate on their teacher’s voice.

You should refer for a CAPD assessment if you notice the following signs:

  • Difficulty localizing sound
  • Difficulty understanding spoken language in competing messages, in noisy backgrounds, in reverberant environments, or when presented rapidly
  • Taking longer to respond in oral communication situations
  • Frequent requests for repetitions, saying “what” and “huh” frequently
  • Inconsistent or inappropriate responding
  • Difficulty following complex auditory directions or commands
  • Difficulty learning songs or nursery rhymes
  • Misunderstanding messages, such as detecting prosody changes that help to interpret sarcasm or jokes
  • Poor musical and singing skills
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Being easily distracted and presenting with a short attention span
  • Poor performance on speech and language or psychoeducational tests in the areas of auditory-related skills
  • Associated reading, spelling, and learning problems
  • Difficulty learning a new language
  • Disruptive behaviours: distracted, impulsive, frustrated

If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, please contact us to book an appointment in Bedfordview or Benoni by calling our office on 011 615 3047 or email candice@cvhaudiology.co.za

Contents of this article from South African Association of Audiologists.

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