One of the first questions we always ask when seeing a patient for the first time is when their last hearing screening was, and do they have a history of ear infections.
It seems obvious to us that hearing and speech are linked, after all, we are Sound SPEECH and HEARING clinic. Lets explore how big of a role hearing plays in speech and language development.
How big of an impact does a mild hearing loss or prolonged periods of fluid build up from ear infections have on your child's access to sounds and language?
There are actually a few key ways that hearing loss impacts speech and language development when children are unable to access all the language around them. Specific effects of hearing loss on speech and language can be reflected in difficulties with:
- Delays in expressive and receptive langauge
- Sentence Structure
- Academic Achievement
- Social Functioning
The most noticable of these difficulties that we see here at Sound is often the impact hearing loss has on a child's speech sounds. Children with hearing loss often have difficulty with those sounds in speech that are quieter than others ("s", "sh", "f", "t", and "k"). This can lead to them not including them in their own speech, making them more difficult to understand.
So what can we do?
Research shows that individuals with hearing loss that receive early intervention are often able to reach the speech and language levels of their age matched peers. So if you suspect your child is having listening or hearing difficulties such as needing directions repeated, not looking when you say their name, or are difficult to understand, don't hesitate to bring them to an audiologist to test their hearing!