Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Speech, Language, and Hearing Loss

A family poses together for speech, language, and hearing loss.

The 24,000 babies born each year with hearing loss are only a portion of the children living with hearing loss every day. Childhood hearing loss is the number one birth defect in the United States, and is also on the rise among children and adolescents. Children with hearing loss often require help from professionals in order to acquire language at the same pace as their hearing peers. In these situations, parents might want to consider if their child needs to see a speech-language therapist.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) also known as speech therapists, are professionally trained experts educated in the study of human communication, its development, and its disorders. They hold at least a master's degree and state certification/licensure in the field, and often a certificate of clinical competency from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Children with hearing loss often develop issues with communication, specifically speech or language. Getting them help at an early age can set the stage for a lifetime of better communication. Understanding the particulars of their speech, language problem can be an essential first step.

What's the difference between speech and language?

Speech is the verbal expression of language and includes the way sounds and words are formed or articulation.

Language refers to the entire system of expressing and receiving information in a way that's meaningful. It's understanding and being understood through communication — verbal, nonverbal, and written.

What are common speech language disorders?

Speech and language disorders include the following:
• Articulation
• Fluency
• Resonance or voice
• Dysphagia or oral eating disorders
• Receptive (auditory) and expressive (verbal) disorders

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has developed a list of ways to Identify speech, language, and hearing problems. These include infants at age 18 months to over two years who say only a few sounds or words or infants at one year who have trouble following what you are saying. For older children the list includes stuttering, inability to follow directions, or lack of response when the child’s name is called. Visit here to read the entire list.

Adapting to Hearing Loss
Because Children are learning to speak, communicate with language, and get cues from the world it is important that they engage with professionals and with others who understand their special needs. Children with hearing loss, from infants to adolescents, have been shown to adjust better to their hearing loss and wearing hearing aids when they are around others who have hearing loss. Children like to fit in, feel like everyone else, so the idea that they might seem different by using a hearing aid can be frightening. Once children realize that there are many people like them with hearing loss, they will begin to become more at ease with their hearing challenges and the importance of wearing hearing aids.

If you'd like to learn more about speech, language, or hearing problems, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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