HEARING LOSS IN CHILDREN CAN IMPACT SPEECH AND LEARNING
Hearing is a critical sense that can have a large affect on a child’s development, especially his or hers ability to speak and understand language
Ideally, a hearing loss should be identified by the time the child is three months old. There is a mandatory hearing test done before the baby leaves the hospital, and if the baby does not pass they are referred for a second test shortly afterwards. It is important to note that a hearing loss in one ear with normal hearing levels in the other can also delay speech and language development.
“Congenital hearing loss is the most common birth defect in developed countries with a rate of about 1.6 per 1,000 live births with permanent hearing loss being the most common type,” said Patricia E. Connelly, pediatric audiologist at Kireker Center for Child Development at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. “Unfortunately, the rate of permanent childhood hearing impairment increases through infancy, and by age four to five years it affects 3.5 per 1,000 children.”
Below are the most common signs of hearing loss that a parent or caregiver should be aware of:
- Failed the newborn hearing screening
- Does not startle to sudden sounds
- Does not respond to music or voices
- Fails to babble and imitate different sounds
- Ignores their name or novel sounds
- Does not understand common words by age one.
The earlier the better when it comes to intervention in terms of speech, language, social and emotional development.
Now very common is a noise induced hearing loss in teens caused by excessive exposure to loud music or gaming, this is caused by listening at harmful, loud sound levels through their earbudsor headphones. This can be avoided, with earbuds that limit the intensity of sound no matter how high the volume is set.
At speech therapy works we implement strategies that promote the child to communicate and maintain eye contact to further speech and language development. Simple strategies such as bringing objects to your face before giving it to the child will encourage them to look at your mouth and associate the word with the object. We work with the parents and caregivers by giving them strategies they can use every day in a natural setting, as well as encourage detailed hearing testing by an audiologist to ensure that the child can hear every frequency. Even by missing a few frequencies the child may be losing a lot of hearing (a high frequency hearing loss will result in the child being unable to hear ‘s’, ‘f’, ‘h’, ‘th’, etc. which makes up a large part of the English language).