Hearing Impairment

Hearing Impairment

Children are aware of sound before birth and in the early months they recognise and begin to practice the sounds of their home language.  Later, early words and phrases develop followed by a rapid increase in vocabulary and the emergence of early sentences.

  • Children who have a hearing impairment miss out on the early stages of sound, until they are consistently wearing appropriate hearing aids or have received a cochlear implant.  In most cases, children then have access to sound and can begin to learn to talk.

Every child is different, however some areas of intervention to support them to develop may include:

  • Learning to Listen
  • Understanding of Language
  • Expressive Language e.g. vocabulary development, use of grammar, sentence length and structure
  • Speech Sound Development
  • Social Communication

The aim of speech and language therapy is to try and make up the gap created by the hearing loss when you compare a child to their hearing peers. Alternatively, we want to develop and facilitate a child’s communication so that they reach their true potential.

Advice and strategies for you as a communication partner

  • Don’t cover your mouth with a hand or scarf.
  • Don’t eat or chew gum when speaking to them.
  • Think about where you are in relation to the child. Aim to be within a meter and think about what side you are on in relation to their hearing loss.
  • Make sure you are facing your child and are bent down to their level.
  • Stand still when you are talking to them.
  • Don’t exaggerate articulation as this will facilitate lip-reading

The following links are to external websites which may be relevant and helpful for the families and professionals of children with a hearing impairment:

  • British Deaf Association: http://www.bda.org.uk/ (This website promotes the status and recognition of the deaf community and British Sign Language (BSL))
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