Researchers asked 14 children with hearing loss and 14 children with normal hearing to perform a primary listening task in varying levels of background noise. At the same time, the kids were asked to push a button in response to random presentations of a probe.
The children with hearing loss had poorer reaction times in pushing the button than their peers, indicating increased effort in the primary listening task.
"Although we have observed over the years that children with hearing loss appear to have less energy at the end of a school day than children with normal hearing, this study provides the first evidence that children with hearing loss actually expend more energy listening than their normal hearing counterparts," says study author Candace Bourland Hicks, of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, in a statement.
The study appears in the June issue of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers a free brochure that examines the effects of noise in the classroom and other issues relating to children's hearing, including the types and signs of hearing loss, the relationship between noise and hearing loss, and how parents can get help for their children. You can get a copy of the brochure by phoning ASHA's toll-free help line at 1-800-638-8255.