Hearing loss is often associated with old age, but it happens to children as well.
When it does, it can affect the way their speech and language skills develop.
After all, young children learn language partially by mimicking what they hear the adults around them say.
If you’re a parent who’s received a diagnosis of hearing loss in your baby, it can be frightening, but there is hope.
Speech therapy for children with hearing loss will focus on helping your child develop their speech and language skills in spite of their hearing loss.
However, it’s important to start as soon as possible.
Early intervention speech therapy has been shown to be much more effective, since your child doesn’t end up missing developmental milestones.
Let’s take a closer look at how hearing loss can affect your child’s development, and how speech therapy for hearing impaired kids can help.
How Does Hearing Development Work?
Being able to hear your surroundings and other people as a child is important for your child’s development.
Children need to hear others speak in order to learn to speak themselves.
Most babies can say a few simple words like “mama” and “dada” when they’re around a year old, and it’s also around this time when parents expect their children to reach this important milestone.
However, when this doesn’t happen it can be a sign of hearing impairment and it should be addressed as soon as possible.
Hearing impairment or hearing loss can range from mild to extreme.
Children with mild cases usually have an idea of what is being communicated to them, even if they miss some details, but can have trouble focusing when there’s too much noise around them.
On the other hand, children who are born deaf can’t hear anything at all.
Hearing impairment can impact your child’s life, especially when it comes to developing social skills and school performance.
How Can Hearing Loss Impact Your Child’s Speech And Language Development?
The first step to help your child if you suspect they have hearing loss issues, is to get them tested.
This prospect might be a little frightening, but it’s important to know.
Children suffering from hearing loss don’t experience the world in the same way as those with fully functioning hearing.
This can cause problems later on, such as:
- Delayed speech
- Delayed language skills
- Needing learning disability therapy for difficulty in school
- Low self esteem
- Having trouble socializing and making friends
Also, there are some sounds used in the English language that children with hearing loss find especially hard to hear.
These include “th”, “s”, “sh” and “t”.
Hearing impaired children usually have trouble judging the volume of their own voices as well.
As a result, they may be too loud or too soft, which may lead others to assume they’re either overly shy or being rude.
However, there’s hope and below we’ll explain these issues in detail and how they can be managed.
Perhaps, one of the main issues when it comes to hearing loss in children is the learning of words, since they don’t learn them as fast as their hearing peers.
Your child may end up having an easy time learning the words related to specific things, like dog, jump, cup, or blue.
On the other hand, more abstract words, like shy, dream, luck, or calm, will likely be more difficult.
They might also have difficulty understanding that words have different meanings – for example, right as in correct as well as in the opposite of left.
Smaller words that give nuance to sentences are also often difficult for a hearing impaired child to understand.
These include things like:
- Conjunctions (and, for, but, etc)
- Articles (the, a, an)
- Prepositions (about, to, around, between)
Learning To Create And Understand Sentences
Children with hearing loss can also have a hard time forming and understanding sentences.
They end up using shorter sentences because they find complex sentences problematic, or they may not use clauses.
Other issues that may arise while forming sentences are:
- They may be unable to use past tense
- They may not understand plural words
- They may not use possessives
The inability to form complete and proper sentences will cause difficulty in your child’s linguistic development.
Performing In School
Children with hearing impairments usually have trouble in school, so it’s important to get them help before it’s too late.
It’s very common for any child to have issues with math or reading, but a child who suffers from hearing loss will always have a harder time.
Here are some of the things which may happen to hearing impaired children in school, if they don’t get any help or support:
- They may have difficulty performing in school
- They may fall behind in their grades
- They may not advance academically past grade three or four
Getting your child help early and providing them with the support they need, can help them keep up with their peers.
Learning Social Skills
As mentioned above, if hearing loss is not addressed, it can affect a child’s overall development.
However, it can also affect their social life, since hearing loss can make it harder to talk to other people.
Some children might even refuse to play or interact with a child that has a hearing impairment.
All this can lead to isolation and the desire to stay home from school, since children often thrive when they make friends.
How Can Speech Therapy For Hearing Impaired Children Help?
There are a few ways to deal with hearing loss in children and getting help from a speech therapist is one of them.
If you have discovered that your child is having issues with speech due to hearing loss, a Washington DC speech therapist can help them develop their listening skills and instruct them on how to speak more clearly.
Here is what speech therapy can offer to you and your child:
- Early diagnosis of hearing impairment issues
- Education on how to properly use hearing devices
- Guidance to help your child gain confidence and independence
- Sessions in which the parents and other caregivers are allowed to be involved
After making the decision of using speech therapy to help your child, your speech therapist can help you in a number of ways.
If it’s determined that your child needs a sound amplification device, your speech therapist can help you choose the best option.
As well, it may be the case that your child needs to use sign language as a way to communicate.
If that’s true, your speech therapist will help your family learn sign language so you can teach your child.
Your speech therapist will also help you explore other treatment options, including the “total communication” method, using written language, and augmentative and alternative communication options.
Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today
To find out more about hearing loss in children and the speech and language problems that can develop from it, we can help.
Our licensed speech therapists can help your child understand their disability and learn ways to deal with the issues associated with it.
We also work together with parents, in order to provide you with knowledge and advice when it comes to choosing the right kind of speech therapy solutions your children may need.
Book your appointment with District Speech today.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.