Has your child been diagnosed with a hearing impairment?
If so, you might already be looking to enroll your child into speech therapy for kids.
However, you might not know just how important speech therapy early intervention is for hearing impairments.
As a parent or caregiver of a hearing impaired child, you likely already know that your child’s impairment doesn’t affect their intelligence in the slightest.
Nonetheless, delayed speech therapy intervention for hearing impaired children can lead to various academic and social difficulties.
This can put your child at risk for falling behind their hearing peers.
At Voz Speech Therapy, we have a special interest in helping hearing impaired children reach their fullest potential.
Keep reading to find out more.
How Does Hearing Develop In Early Infancy?
Babies can hear things before they are even born.
While still in the womb, your baby can hear a variety of sounds, including your heartbeat, digestive noises, and even your voice.
Therefore, most babies come into the world hearing everything around them loud and clear.
As your child develops, their relationship with sound begins to change.
They learn how to pay attention to specific sounds, follow the direction of sounds, and respond to changes in vocal tones.
Hearing impairments interfere with a child’s hearing development.
Some children are born with hearing impairments, whereas others develop their impairments over time for a variety of reasons.
The effects hearing impairments can range from mild to profound.
What Causes Hearing Impairment?
Your child’s hearing impairment may be specified as one of three subtypes:
- Conductive, which involves the outer or middle ear
- Sensorineural, which involves the inner ear
- Mixed, which involves a combination of conductive and sensorineural
Therefore, hearing impairments in children can vary, depending on the subtype.
Common causes of hearing impairments in children include:
- Inner ear damage
- Excess earwax
- Ear infections (Otitis)
- Abnormal bone growth or tumors
- Ruptured or perforated eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation)
How Does Hearing Impairment Affect Language In Children?
Hearing sounds and words is an essential part of learning how to use and understand language.
Therefore, hearing impaired children typically struggle with their speaking, reading, and social skills, as well as academic performance.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common areas of difficulty for hearing impaired children.
1. Difficulty With Learning The Sound Of Words
Hearing impaired children typically learn the sounds of words slower than their peers.
If your child is hearing impaired, you might notice that they learn concrete words, such as bed and table, with little difficulty but struggle with more abstract words, such as love and courage.
Additionally, you might notice that your child struggles to learn the multiple meanings of a given word.
Without intervention, these difficulties can put your child at risk for falling further behind as they get older.
2. Difficulty With Understanding How Sentences Work
Children with hearing impairments often struggle with both using and understanding the meaning of sentences.
Additionally, they typically use shorter sentences than their hearing peers.
Your child may have trouble using more complex sentences, such as those with multiple clauses or passive voice.
They may also struggle to use plurals and past tense while speaking.
3. Difficulty Developing Social Skills
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for hearing impaired children to complain of social isolation and loneliness.
Without the ability to understand language, your child might struggle to develop the social skills required to make friends.
This often amplifies their difficulties in school.
4. Trouble With Academic Performance
As we allude to above, hearing impaired children typically struggle in academic settings, with reading and math being the most common areas of difficulty.
This results in hearing impaired children being at risk for falling one, or multiple, grades behind.
Without intervention, these struggles will grow stronger over time.
Early intervention can help your child do just as well in school as their hearing classmates.
How Can A Speech Therapist Help?
Fortunately, these difficulties can be overcome with the help of a speech therapist.
In our modern age of technology, hearing impaired children have more options than ever before.
For instance, some parents decide to amplify their child’s hearing with the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants whereas others forgo amplification altogether.
Whatever you decide, a speech therapist can help guide you through your options and help your child overcome the difficulties associated with their hearing loss.
This may include techniques such as communication and social skill development, environmental modification, or American Sign Language (ASL) and visual cues.
The most important aspect is early intervention.
Babies with a hearing impairment identified at birth should begin therapy within six months.
If your child’s hearing impairment develops later, therapy should begin immediately.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
At Voz Speech Therapy, we want to help you make the best possible choices for your child’s health and development.
Give us a call to hear more about the ways we can help.
Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to begin your child’s speech and language transformation.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.