How Does Hearing Loss Affect my Child’s Speech and Language Skills?
Audiologists are the primary health-care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in children.
Hearing is critical to speech and language development, communication, and learning. Children with listening difficulties due to hearing loss or auditory processing problems continue to be an under-identified and underserved population.
The earlier that the hearing loss occurs in a child's life, the more serious the effects on the child's speech and language development may be. Similarly, the earlier the problem is identified and intervention begun, the less serious the ultimate impact.
According the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), there are four major ways in which hearing loss affects children:
- It causes delay in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills (speech and language).
- The language deficit causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement.
- Communication difficulties often lead to social isolation and poor self-concept.
- It may have an impact on vocational choices.
What do I do if my child has a hearing loss?
Recent research indicates that children identified with a hearing loss who begin services early may be able to develop language (spoken and/or signed) on a par with their hearing peers. If a hearing loss is detected in your child, early family-centered intervention is recommended to promote language (speech and/or signed depending on family choices) and cognitive development. At Mount Pleasant Pediatric Speech Therapy, we believe in a total communication and team approach.
An Audiologist is a crucial and imperative part of the team of professionals that will evaluate your child and suggest the most appropriate audiologic intervention program. However, working closely with a speech-language pathologist can ensure your child remains on the developmentally expected path.