BHI eNewsletter - Better Hearing Institute Creates Pediatric Advisory Council

October 30, 2008

The Better Hearing Institute has created its first Pediatric Advisory Council to help reduce the sizeable population of young people and children in America who are at risk because of untreated hearing loss.

An estimated 1.4 million youth have hearing loss, but only 12 percent wear hearing devices, according to a national study recently released by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). Untreated hearing loss among young people was shown to lead to social, emotional, behavioral, and learning difficulties, according to the study. Three out of four parents indicated their child experienced "minor" to "serious" problems due to their hearing loss.

The goals of the Council include:

  1. Helping to raise national awareness of the importance of hearing healthcare for children
  2. Encouraging parents to have their children's hearing tested, and if necessary, treated
  3. Addressing issues regarding hearing loss and children from parents and reporters via interviews, speeches, and articles, and
  4. Assisting in the development of surveys or polls, such as a survey on the adequacy of school hearing test programs nationwide.

"Based on our findings, we are concerned that a sizeable population of young people in America is being left behind because they do not fit existing paradigms of hearing disability said Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., executive director of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). "The BHI is delighted to have this outstanding panel of pediatric audiology experts help us tackle the problem of hearing loss among many of our nation's children."

A recent study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute entitled, "Are 1 Million Dependents in America with Hearing Loss Being Left Behind?" found the following:

  • Historically 50 percent of infants who failed an initial hearing screening were not brought in for their follow-up evaluation with a detailed hearing test
  • Only 12 percent of children under the age of 18 with hearing loss use hearing aids; yet an estimated 1.5 million youth (including adult dependents) under the age of 21 have hearing loss that may be improved with amplification
  • Three in ten parents (32%) cite embarrassment or other social stigma issues as a reason their child does not use a hearing aid, and
  • Many parents were advised inappropriately that their child could not be helped because they had sensorineural hearing loss.
  • One in five parents cannot afford hearing aids for their children.
  • There is a tendency to minimize the impact of "mild", even "moderate" hearing loss as well as unilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in one ear) among children despite the known impact on language, academic and emotional development.
  • The incidence of hearing loss among children may be as high as five times greater than that measured subjectively by the BHI in national polls, because the child's hearing loss may be outside of the awareness of the parent, pediatrician or educator.

"Research by the Better Hearing Institute as well as esteemed researchers in the field of pediatric audiology clearly indicate that we need to do more to educate parents and pediatricians as well as state and federal politicians to do more to help children with hearing loss," said Dr. Jackie Clark, BHI pediatric advisor and Clinical Assistant Professor at the School of Behavioral & Brain Sciences at the University of Texas Callier Center; the Callier Center specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and care of children with hearing loss.

The members of the BHI Pediatric Advisory Council include:

  • Karen Anderson Ph.D. - Audiology Consultant with the Florida Dept of Health
  • Jane Auriemmo, Au.D. - Pediatric Partnership Program Manager, Widex Hearing Aid Company, Long Island, New York.
  • Jackie L. Clark, PhD/CCC-A; F-AAA - Clinical Asst. Professor School of Behavioral & Brain Sciences, UT Dallas/Callier Center, Dallas, Texas
  • Christine Jones, M.S. CCC-A - Manager of Pediatrics and Schools, Phonak Hearing Systems, Warrenville, Illinois.
  • Dawna E. Lewis, Ph.D. - Senior Research Associate, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha NE
  • George Lindley, Ph.D., Au.D. Manager Pediatric Education and Training, Oticon, Inc., Somerset, New Jersey.
  • Patti F. Martin, Ph.D. - Director, Audiology and Speech Pathology, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock Arkansas
  • Maryrose McInerney, Ph.D., CCC-A - Associate Professor St Johns University
  • Arla Melum, M.S, CCC-A -Educational Audiologist, Columbia Regional Program, Portland, Oregon
  • Alyssa R. Needleman, Ph.D., CCC-A, FAAA - Manager, Audiology Department Rady Children's Hospital San Diego
  • Eileen Cornetta Rall, Au.D., CCC-A -The Center for Childhood Communication The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Johnnie Sexton, M.S. President/Owner, John E. Sexton & Associates, Inc., Wilmington, NC.
  • Lynn Spivak, Ph.D., CCC-A - Director, Hearing & Speech Center, LIJ Medical Center New Hyde Park, New York
  • Gail M. Whitelaw, Ph.D. - Director of Clinical Instruction and Research, Dept. of Speech and Hearing Science, Ohio State and Audiology faculty member, Columbus, Ohio
  • Jody Winzelberg AuD, FAAA - Director Rehabilitation Services Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, California
  • Jace Wolfe, Ph.D., is the Director of Audiology at the Hearts for Hearing Foundation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Founded in 1973, BHI is a not-for-profit educational organization whose mission is to educate the public and medical profession about hearing loss, its treatment and prevention. To download a copy of the study, "Are 1 Million Dependents in America with Hearing Loss Being Left Behind?" or to download a copy of "A Guide to Your Child's Hearing" visit the BHI website at UpdateUnsubsribe