Hearing Impairment May Affect Visual Learning

Hearing Impairment May Affect Visual Learning

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | March 20th, 2019

Duane L. Smelser

Have you ever wondered what affect hearing loss has on visual learning? For children who are hard of hearing, you might think they rely more heavily on visual learning, and use their eyesight to make up for their hearing deficits. However, a new study shows that children with a hearing impairment also have a harder time learning things with their other senses, such as vision. Treating hearing loss early is key to giving your loved one the best possible start to life, and helping them learn and grow.


Children and Hearing Loss

If you have a child who’s struggling to hear, you know that life can seem much harder for them. They struggle to interact with family, have difficulty making friends, and don’t learn as fast as their hearing peers. Recent studies have looked at the cognitive development of children with hearing loss to see how being hard of hearing is affecting their ability to learn and grow. Those with hearing loss learn much slower, and these difficulties start at a very young age.

A recent study at the Ohio State University College of Medicine looked at how a hearing impairment could be affecting visual learning. Clair Monroy and Derek Houston, lead authors of the study, wanted to explore how children with hearing loss learn. You might think that those with a hearing loss would rely more on other senses to learn, or might have heightened visual learning. The study found the opposite to be true! Not only were babies unable to learn new things using hearing, they also had a far harder time learning new things visually.

They tested over 40 infants, and found that it took hard of hearing babies much longer to become familiar with new objects, so their visual learning was slower than their hearing peers. To test visual learning, they showed the infants a colorful image on a screen, and measured how long it took for the baby to encode the image and look away. Infants with hearing loss stared at the images 30 seconds longer than the infants with clear hearing. This was 40% slower than the hearing infants!

“This is somewhat counterintuitive because a lot of people assume that deaf children compensate for their lack of hearing by being better at processing visual things, but the findings of the study show the opposite,” Monroy explains.


How Hearing Affects Learning

If your child struggles to hear, their learning is affected in profound ways. It takes them longer to encode new information, both visually and auditorily, and they struggle to form relationships with their peers. It they’re not able to hear or understand their teachers, they’ll fall far behind, and will have difficulties learning new skills.


Early Treatment

It’s crucial that you treat your child’s hearing loss as soon as possible. Their other senses can’t make up for all the information they’re not hearing, and at young ages, every day counts when it comes to development. If you want your child to grow up happy and healthy, treat their hearing loss as soon as possible. Visit us today at Hearing Health Portland to find out the cause of your child’s hearing loss, and what treatment options are available. “Understanding the source of these differences can really help us tailor interventions specifically for these children,” Monroy said. “And the earlier that happens, the better.”


Hearing Health in Portland

At Hearing Health, though we provide comprehensive hearing health services for adults, we believe in the importance of hearing health for people of all ages. We hope that bringing awareness to all aspects of hearing health encourage you and your loved ones to take the steps necessary to improve your overall health and well-being. If you have been struggling with hearing loss, consider visiting us at Hearing Health in Portland. We provide hearing tests and hearing aid fittings to ensure that you have access to the rich sounds of your life!

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