Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Guidlines for Pressure Equalization Tubes in Children

Most of us can remember a friend or maybe even ourselves not being able to go swimming as a kid due to having ear tubes. This longstanding treatment for middle ear fluid has received some attention recently with new guidlines being published about appropriate use of ear tubes. Children who have middle ear fluid for less than three months will not be considered for tubes. If the middle ear fluid is present for longer than three months, then the child may be considered a candidate for tubes if the condition is impacting there development (speech or cognitiive). The most surprising new guidline is that children with ear tubes will generally not need to wear swim plugs when swimming or bathing. Here is the link if you would like a more detailed overview:

Here is what an actual ear tube looks like inserted into the eardrum:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spotify to donate to Starkey Hearing Foundation

Refer a Friend to Spotify & Give the Gift of Hearing

For every referral, (thru 9/2), Spotify will donate $1 to Starkey Hearing Foundation

Check out the LSTN Headphone’s “Giving Back. Amplified.” program!

Invite your friends to join Spotify to help give the gift of hearing.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Newborn hearing screening is effective, but still presents with flaws

A recent study, indicated that newborn hearing screenings have proven to be highly effective at identifying children with hearing loss, but children with slight or mild hearing loss may pass the screening at birth. Children who have late onset hearing loss may also pass the newborn hearing screening initially. Newborn hearing screenings can provide a false sense of security, but it's important to note how effective this program has been since it was implemented. A key recommendation for parents is to have an audiological evaluation for any concerns regarding speech and language delays. Here is the link for a more in-depth overview of the study:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Do We Know What a Kid With Hearing Loss Needs In School?

Everyone who works with children with hearing loss knows that, even with all  the great technology that  is available  today, kids still need help.  Because the technology is so good, school staff members sometimes think that kids do not need any  help. I have had school staff tell me that now that a  child has a cochlear implant he is no  longer disabled. Well, he  is  certainly much better than he  was before he received an implant, but it  is really important to understand that he is still not normal hearing.
Hearing in the classroom
Even if a child is hearing well, a child with hearing loss is listening through a damaged auditory system. We know that a child with hearing loss needs four times the repetition to learn. So we know that in a classroom situation, a child with  hearing  loss  will need to hear everything multiple times to get  the message. What does this tell us about how a child  is  learning? It tells us that we need to be sure a child has the  information he needs to follow  classroom discussion. To me this means that a  child needs preview and review by a person who  has academic skills.  Usually this  is  a teacher of children with  hearing loss. It may be a speech-language pathologist who provides the service, and this can work  well for young children, but may not be optimal for older children where academic material is more difficult. The SLP will also be responsible  for teaching all  speech and language skills so, if the SLP is responsible  for preview and review, more time needs to be allotted to service provision.
Looking at test results
When reviewing evaluations it is important to look at all subtests. People frequently look at the total score and, if a child seems to be doing well, they make a determination that no services are needed. However, it is very valuable to look at all subtests and see areas in which a child is either below average or scores more poorly than in other areas. For example, if a child is within normal limits on  the overall test but is performing poorly on auditory memory tests, it indicates that she will need therapy to address auditory memory skills even if her overall score is good.

Comparing test results with other kids in the class
It is important to compare kids with other kids in the same school, not  just with kids in the standardized test pool. This is especially important for child in high achieving school districts. Kids need to compete with the kids around them. So we need  to pay attention to how kids are performing and  work  hard to keep them there. As long as we pay good attention we will succeed in helping kids be the best they can be.

Adapted from a post by Jane Madell at HHTM (August 7, 2012)