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Babies hearing is often screened within hours of their birth, and then again in reception. Parents and caregivers are essential in the diagnosis and intervention process. Some things to look out for include frequent colds and ear infections, your child having difficulty understanding you, listening to the television very loudly, or speaking loudly and needing to repeat what you have said frequently. In this blog, we will explore what hearing difficulties include and how it can impact speech and language development.
Hearing loss can be the result of prematurity, genetic factors, anatomical difficulties, part of a syndrome or illness, as well as unexplained. A hearing impairment is a hearing loss that prevents a person from totally receiving sounds through the ear. A hearing impairment may affect a child's speech language and communication skills.
The extent of the hearing loss can vary depending on several influential factors such as, age at identified hearing loss, engagement of parents with health services, the type of hearing loss and degree of hearing loss, the child cognitive and motor skills and other medical conditions.
Hearing plays a crucial role when helping children learn language.
Children with hearing loss may have problems hearing sounds clearly. There are quiet sounds such as /s, sh, f, t and k/ which are harder for children to hear. Not hearing these sounds will impact on the child’s ability to use those sounds and grasp them in phonics. Your child may mishear how words are pronounced and therefore develop speech error patterns. If these errors persist, they can become a habit, a child can get used to saying a word a certain way and therefore the error can become ingrained and harder to change. Difficulties with these sounds will also impact the child’s ability to apply grammatical rules as they haven’t heard them correctly. Possession e.g. Daniel’s, plurals (cats) and irregular verb tenses (took).
Hearing loss will also impact on the child’s social skills and therefore impact their participation in a social situation which can have a ripple effect on the child’s self-esteem. A child with hearing loss may lack awareness of how they speak. They may be too loud or they may speak too quietly, which will have an impact on your child’s audience of listeners.
Children who have hearing loss do not learn as words as fast as children without hearing loss.
If you have any concerns with your child’s hearing, you can always go your local doctor or audiologist to check your child’s hearing. We're here to support you and any questions you may have.
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