It has always been recognized that hearing and speech go hand-in-hand; each playing a crucial role with each other.
Hearing successfully leads to speech and language development, communication, and learning. Children who have been diagnosed with a hearing loss, of any severity, my display weaknesses in the above mentioned areas, as well as difficulties with learning and auditory processing.
The earlier a hearing loss occurs in the child’s life, the more severe the consequences will be. This is because if a hearing loss occurs at age 5, the child has already been exposed to plenty of language and has learned how to successfully form speech sounds correctly to speak fluently and clearly. If a baby is born with hearing loss, they never have the chance to hear how language is formed. Similarly, if the child is diagnosed early and receives intervention as soon as possible, the impact to their social, communication and learning will be less affected.
When a child is diagnosed with a developmental delay, that just means that they will learn the skills that are currently deficient; however, it might be at a slower rate than their same-aged peers. If a child is diagnosed with a disorder, that means that their speech, development or cognition is developing differently than other children and is not following the “normal” pattern.
Expressive language is the persons’ ability to speak clearly, effectively and concisely. This area of language also encompasses writing.
Receptive language is a person’s ability to understand information. It involves understanding words and what they mean in a variety of different contexts.
When a child cannot hear sounds or language clearly, they won’t understand in whatever setting they are placed. If a teacher is lecturing to them in front of the class and they can’t hear what is being taught, they will miss valuable lessons and will begin to fall behind in comprehension and carryover. This may also lead to frustration and a sense of failure.
Children interact just like adults do – by participating in a give-and-take conversation. If a child cannot appropriately respond to another child’s questions or comments, this may lead to the “typical” child not wanting to interact as much with the child who has a hearing loss. This will, eventually, begin to affect the child who is diagnosed with a hearing loss in the area of self-confidence. They will shy away from conversation, which only exacerbates the social communication deficit.
Not all of the time, but sometimes, children do not receive proper rehabilitation for their hearing loss. This will impact their ability to function in the classroom setting and may impact their choice of career upon graduation. If they have proper amplification, they can go on to have ANY career that they choose!
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Studies have shown that children who are diagnosed with a hearing loss early, have the ability to learn and develop language (whether verbal or sign) in line with their age-matched peers. If hearing loss is detected in your family, early intervention should begin immediately. An audiologist, a medical professional that will be crucial in diagnosing and suggesting remediation, will evaluate and suggest the most appropriate audiological intervention plan for your child and family. A speech-language pathologist will also work with you to determine the best way to communicate with your child!
Download Speech Blubs for some additional strategies that you can use with your child!
Reference: ASHA – Audiological Information Sheets, 2015.
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