Globally, unidentified hearing loss is the largest and most significant childhood disability impacting on development
This is because 98% of people with hearing loss in poorer countries have no treatment for their hearing loss. 100% of them are less educated and in lower paid jobs because when they were young they didn’t get equal access to education.
650m = Hearing Impaired in the world
549m = Hearing Impaired in LEDC without treatment
31m = children of school age who can’t hear their teacher properly
99% : 10% : 0% = New born screening UK: SA : others
That doesn’t mean that there is no problem in richer countries. Only 46% of Hearing Impaired children are identified by newborn screening programmes, yet in many countries like the UK there is no universal hearing loss screening in schools. When undiagnosed and untreated these children fall behind and never catch up.
In richer countries, children with hearing loss in primary school are left with lower IQ up to the age of 13, behavioural problems till 15 and reduced reading ability until 18.
If diagnosed quicker, the harm is reduced. Immediate action can be taken by teacher to enable better communication with the hearing impaired child and quicker referral to specialist shortens time in class with untreated hearing loss.