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  1. Jan 2022
    1. In fact, noise doesn’t just cause hearing loss; it can reveal it

      This is an important revelation. Noisy situations can highlight someone's hearing loss when they've tried to hide it.

    2. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, more than 37 million individuals aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. And there have been studies over the years in the hearing care field that indicate teachers report hearing problems at a higher rate than workers overall. Moreover, by some estimates, more than a quarter of teachers suspect they have a hearing problem but haven’t done anything about it.

      The numbers are staggering, but the last sentence tells so much. While many might suspect having a hearing issue, most do nothing about it. A simple hearing test will show the amount of loss - if any - and while the use of hearing aids can hold off much of the progression of hearing loss, not doing anything will only make it worse.

    3. In a frequently cited study, researchers found that 94 percent of teachers they surveyed said their classrooms were too loud and 65 percent complained of hearing issues, including tinnitus, which is that ringing in the ears commonly caused by noise.

      A noisy environment is not only an academic issue, but one of personal health for both the teacher and student.

    4. Beyond that, teachers themselves need to recognize their own hearing challenges and address them accordingly. When they’re exhausted at the end of the day, yes, much of that may be the result of the job’s rigors, they should also consider that straining to hear effectively could also be a contributor. Recognizing higher-than-optimal noise levels in a classroom, teachers should have their hearing checked regularly.

      This is key, but teachers also have to be cognizant of the hearing challenges facing each individual student. While the class generally learns as a whole, each individual has issues that need to be taken into consideration.

    5. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends laying rugs and carpets, hanging curtain or blinds, and using soft materials like felt of corkboards on the walls. Paying attention to acoustics can help lower noise levels that contribute to hearing loss while improving conditions for those who already suffer.

      School classrooms are not designed for hearing - which is kind of strange in itself since most classroom activity revolves around the need for careful and effective listening.

    6. Whether they struggle to hear because of an audiological condition or an acoustically unfriendly classroom space, the effort a teacher expends to hear can cause fatigue, frustration, or a lack of concentration. Studies have shown that such effects can cause people who struggle to hear to withdraw socially, which can negatively impact mental health.

      Hearing loss and mental health are so interconnected that sometimes it is difficult to seperate the two.

    7. Studies have shown that noise in classrooms can top 85 decibels, which is the threshold above which prolonged exposure — like an entire school day — can lead to hearing loss.

      Again, from the student perspective, the noise can be very damaging, especialy added to the hallway noise and the excessive noise and echos present in the gymnasium.

    8. Teachers are communicators. But they can’t communicate what they need to in the classroom if they can’t hear what students say. And schools can be noisy places. Not rock concert noisy, but noisy enough to make communication a challenge and potentially impact teachers’ hearing.

      Not to say that even a minimal amount of hearing loss on the student's part will create a poor learning environment that will affect overall academic achievement