There is a large discrepancy between recent reports of the prevalence of hearing loss in children.
Subjectively, parents report through a MarkeTrak survey that fewer than 2% of children suffer from hearing loss, while research studies that use objective hearing tests conclude that the prevalence of hearing loss in this population approximated 12 -14%. Why is there this difference? Could one factor be that we don't recognize the more subtle signs of hearing loss in children - irritability, fatigue, withdrawal, acting out? Hearing loss in children is not always obvious.
Adults can easily tell you "I hear you but I don't understand everything you are saying." Children may not have the ability to put the challenges they face into words. With universal newborn hearing screening we will limit the number of children who have undetected hearing loss but it is not a perfect system. Some children have hearing loss that develops later in life, or who's loss is missed by screening as a newborn, or who have short-term problems such as hearing loss associated with middle ear congestion. Parents, educators and healthcare professionals need to "listen" more carefully to children for the more subtle signs of hearing loss. There are ways to test hearing reliably at any age.