hearing loss

Aidan's Story: “I can hear the wind blowing”

October 15, 2019

Aidan is bright and witty. An extra-ordinary Year 6 primary school student preparing himself for the challenges and responsibilities of high school. But Aidan’s outgoing personality almost hid a disability that may have hampered his high school years, preventing him from reaching his full potential.

Aidan has a hearing loss, a permanent hearing loss that went undetected until he reached Year 5. It was easy to miss the subtle signs of Aidan’s hearing loss due to his confident ways, but a family friend noticed that something wasn’t quite right, leading to the discovery of Aidan’s loss and a trip to Hearing Australia.

Aidan, like many children, was a master of disguise when it came to inadvertently hiding his hearing loss. Children skilfully blend in with normal hearing students; lip reading, copying others when they cannot hear the instructions from their teachers or creating distractions amongst friends to hide the fact that they were unable to hear what was said. Children can creatively adapt to a world with muffled sound when they are young.

Fortunately for Aidan hearing aids have made a world of difference. He can now hear his parents better, respond appropriately to his friends in the playground, and learn from what his teachers have to say.

Cheerful, bubbly and open about his hearing loss, it’s clear that getting hearing aids has changed Aidan’s life, both at school and home. As he explains the details of his hearing loss journey, with great precision, it’s evident that Aidan acknowledges the impact that discovering his loss and receiving hearing aids has had on his life.

“Before I got my hearing aids I would often say ‘What’ ‘Pardon’ and ‘Sorry’… but it’s unlikely now.”

Aidan’s hearing aids mean that he can now hear subtle sounds which many of us take for granted.

“I can hear the wind blowing which - actually - I like the sound of!” says Aidan.

While Aidan was able to blend in, over time he would have fallen further and further behind academically. When a child cannot hear the teacher’s instructions it creates a barrier to learning. Hearing loss can also contribute to a loss of attention as the effort to listen with impaired hearing can be a huge burden on the brain and means children get tired much quicker than their peers.

When it comes to the playground, when children can’t hear their friends, they may become withdrawn and have difficulty playing and communicating with others. Over time, as they get older, this can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Undiagnosed hearing loss impacts a child’s ability to socialise with their friends

Often, a hearing loss in a child can be misinterpreted as a behavioural disorder such as ADHD. Particularly when the child is older. What may be an obvious sign of a hearing loss to an audiologist, can be mistakenly interpreted as an inability to concentrate which is then linked to a behavioural disorder.

There are many misconceptions associated with hearing loss. People assume that if their child can hear at all, then they must not have hearing loss, but this is not the case. In fact, some hearing loss can get worse over time when not treated, such as conductive hearing loss. It’s much better to discover your child has a problem and address it so they can realise their potential in a world full of sound.

Aidan’s story serves as a prime example of the benefits of checking your child’s hearing. It is never too late to improve your child’s quality of life. Sound Scouts recommends regular hearing checks for your children. We check our teeth annually, why not our ears?

Test your child’s hearing with the clinically approved and government-supported Sound Scouts app. All you need is a pair of headphones, a quiet room and a smartphone or tablet! https://soundscouts.com/au/download

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Sound Scouts is now FREE for Australian school children thanks to Hearing Australia and funding from the Australian Government. Support available on 1300 424 122