Why preschoolers with hearing problems could be slipping through the cracks

Newborn hearing screening and diagnosis at the hospital.
Newborn hearing screening and diagnosis at the hospital. Photo credit Getty Images
By , KCBS Radio

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – Doctors are concerned that young kids could be having developmental difficulties because of hearing loss that is going unidentified.

Children are generally screened for hearing loss when they're born and again when they are four years old. Researchers looked at what happened when they added extra screening for low- income pre-school aged children.

"Over the course of the last four years which we studied we screened nearly 7,000 kids and 3% of them were identified with some kind of hearing loss that was able to be managed by their pediatrician or audiologist," said Dr. Dylan Chan, Director of the Children's Communication Center at UCSF. "Many of these kids would not have been identified in other ways."

Chan was a guest on KCBS Radio's "As Prescribed" on Tuesday.


He explained that pre-school age is when it's critical to identify hearing loss to prevent speech and language difficulties and prepare kids for school entry.

One of the most important factors in catching an issue early is if parents, caregivers and teachers speak up if they notice any warning signs such as speech issues.

"When kids get to their second or third birthday and they're not progressing as expected in terms of their speech and language development, it's broadly recommended that they just undergo a simple hearing test," Chan added.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images