Mild hearing impairment and unilateral impairment

The sense of hearing has a central influence on the processes of language development, speech, thinking, learning skills and social skills. Any condition of hearing impairment, even the mildest, may affect these processes.

Hearing in both ears allows the brain to integrate the information coming from both sides and thereby improve:

  • The intensity of the auditory stimulus
  • Understanding speech in the presence of background noise
  • Locating the source of the sound in space

Unilateral hearing loss refers to a situation where the hearing in one ear is at the limit of the norm and the other ear has a hearing loss.

Mild hearing impairment refers to a situation where the hearing is not within the normal range and there is a mild impairment in one or both ears.

Studies indicate that even a mild disability or a unilateral hearing disability may damage the child’s oral, communicative, academic, social and emotional functioning.

The hearing difficulty of children with mild or unilateral hearing impairment is particularly noticeable in difficult listening conditions such as: quiet speech, speaking at a distance, speaking in noisy conditions and in reverberation conditions. Because of this, these children may have difficulty following and understanding the speaker’s words in communicative interaction and learning situations, and they sometimes need assistance.

Recommendations for parents of a child with unilateral hearing loss or mild hearing loss

  • Frequent auditory monitoring should be performed in accordance with the recommendation of a professional team.
  • The pace and quality of the child’s language and speech development must be monitored.
  • Talk to the child from a relatively short distance to the functioning ear.
  • Try to reduce background noise as much as possible (music, television, etc.).
  • In noisy situations, try to talk to the child close to the good ear (for example carrying in a carrier and not in a stroller).
  • At meetings in kindergarten, it is recommended to sit the child close to the kindergarten teacher with the good ear directed towards the kindergarten teacher.
  • It is recommended to avoid exposure to loud noise.
  • In cases where there is a mild to moderate disability, the use of a hearing aid can be considered.
  • It is recommended to ensure an optimal acoustic environment, especially in the educational environment.
  • The use of FM systems (personal or environmental) should be considered in the educational environment, the system allows speech (of a main speaker) to be heard and overcomes the limitations of distance and background noise.