Dear Grandparenting: I figured grandson Teddy was off in his own little world. When I asked him a question, he might not answer or might ask me to repeat the question. And I’d get annoyed thinking he wasn’t paying attention or just blowing me off.
Then I narrowed it down. Maybe it was my soft speaking voice, but that was never a problem before. Or maybe Teddy needed to get his hearing checked.
I knew a surprising number of kids are walking around with subpar hearing — the furthest thing from the mind of most people, including Teddy and his parents. I’m glad I insisted on that checkup.
A hefty percentage of children are damaged to some degree, not to mention the other problems that crop up. This should be a wakeup call for your readers. Goldie Oldie, Marshall, Michigan
Dear Goldie: Your story shows the benefit of vigilant grandparents who act on their instincts, and illuminates a growing but often undetected obstacle that can harm school performance, language development and social interactions say medical professionals.
The numbers are rather alarming. According to one report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five teens suffer hearing loss. Another study of 500 teens found that one in six reported constant symptoms of hearing issues, while 90% engage in activities that put at risk for future problems.
Many grandchildren inhabit the high tech gaming and music worlds that seem absurdly noisy and exceed recommended volume levels. Headphones that pipe music directly into ear canals are a growth industry; one leading culprit are ear buds used with high performance portable music players like iPhones. Overweight grandchildren, another sign of our times, are also at risk; obesity and diabetes increase the probability of auditory troubles.
The good news is that these concerns are often preventable. Many thanks for your letter — the risks of hearing loss came across loud and clear.
Grand remark of the week
Marci Williams from Fishkill, New York was starting fixing lunch when grandson John dropped by. After John wolfed down three doughnuts, he asked his grandmother what she was making for lunch.
“This look of horror came over his face when I mentioned the spinach casserole,” said Marci. “Johnny shot up out of his chair and said ‘Granny, I’m trying to quit spinach. It looks fattening.’ He hopped on his bike and left.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.