Statistics on Language Development in Children with Hearing Loss
We have discussed the impact of untreated hearing loss on children and how it affects their performance in school. Research has shown that hearing aids and other listening devices can reduce the impact of hearing loss.
In a study that was conducted by the University of Iowa, it indicated that children who have a hearing impairment have an easier time learning language and speech when they wear hearing aids.
Researchers studied 180 preschool-aged children from six U.S. states, who have difficulty with hearing.
Each child who wore hearing aids had better speech and language development in contrast with children who did not receive treatment for their hearing loss. The study showed that the longer the child wore hearing aids, the more improvement there was on their development in language and speech.
It is important to mention that the research revealed how any range of hearing loss, from very mild to severe, can put a child’s language acquisition and ability to learn at high risk. That risk can be reduced with early and aggressive intervention.
How does hearing impact the development of speech and language?
Hearing directly affects communication; it will also influence the way a child learns in general, and more specifically how they learn syntax, vocabulary. Their academic achievements, the ability to socialize, their future career and salary are also impacted by their hearing health and communication.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association have determined that there are four ways that hearing loss can impact children:
Children who have a hearing impairment tend to have difficulty with learning more abstract words such as, “before” and “after”, or comprehending words that have more than one definition. They tend to have problems hearing the following speech sounds: “f”, “k”, “s”, “sh”, “t”, and “ed”. This affects how they compose sentences and which words they will incorporate in their vocabulary.
As the divide between children with healthy hearing abilities and those with hearing loss becomes larger as they age, kids with hearing loss can catch up to the right level if they get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
When should children with hearing loss get treated?
The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (2007) advises parents to get their infants a hearing screening by the time they are a month old. Newborns who fail their hearing screening should get another screening by the time they are three months old. Babies who have tested positive for permanent hearing loss should get help and treatment by the time they are six months old.
This is one of the reasons for all infants in the U.S. to get screened soon after they are born. Every state has its own method of newborn screening. Before an infant leaves a hospital, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises a hearing screening for babies who are born inside of the hospital. Those who are not born inside of a hospital should have a visit to a hospital or clinic within a few days after they are born.
Hearing loss in infants: The signs and symptoms
Birth to 4 Months
What should you do if you suspect that your child has a hearing loss?
The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states that the initial three years are a very important time to acquire speech and language. This is when the brain is malleable and still developing, which makes it the best time to absorb language. Infants should be exposed to sounds and language to help them learn during that time and in the future.
During their first three months of life, babies should react to loud sounds and be soothed by a familiar voice. Babies who are three to six months old should follow sounds with their eyes, become alert by noisy toys, react to music and laugh, babble or make gurgling noises.
If your child does not react to sounds, talk to your child’s pediatrician. They might give you a referral to a pediatric audiologist and a speech-language pathologist, who will do a more thorough examination.
Get treatment immediately
Do not postpone treatment for your child’s hearing health. Research has proven that early intervention can improve development in language and speech, along with your child’s social skills and academic performance.
Children who are four weeks old can receive hearing aids and assistive listening devices. Most babies and young children are fitted with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. The earmolds on these devices are able to help with a number of different types of hearing loss. They are also easy to adjust, clean and can be detached and altered as your child grows.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to talk to one of our hearing instrument specialists, who can help you decide which hearing aid treatment options would work best for your child, or anyone in your family who has hearing loss.