Hearing problems in children may be based on attention issues, rather than listening. Researchers from the University of Sydney have shown that some children have difficulty following a conversation in noisy environments.
Looking at 12 adults, 12 normal children and 12 children with hearing problems, but no diagnosis, the team found that the last group had trouble switching attention in a crowd. Previously such patients had not had a diagnosis despite clear symptoms.
This discovery provides a new tool for helping the two thirds of sufferers who have been turned away at an audiology clinic. Other forms of attention disorder (such as ADHD) can be treated with medication, but it is yet to be seen whether it is appropriate in these discovered cases.