Hearing Loss in Children/Speech/Language Development
Infant and Childhood Hearing Loss
Hearing loss in children, if untreated, can lead to developmental delays in speech and language, create social and emotional problems and contribute to academic failure. Early identification with early remediation leads to best outcomes for normal speech and language development and social and academic success.
The following websites provide general and average information of children’s speech and language development:
The Audiology Exam
Hearing is recognized as the critical component for speech and language development. The first few years of life are critical for speech and language development. Children must be able to hear speech clearly to learn language. A hearing loss that is permanent, possibly present from birth (congenital) or a fluctuating hearing loss due to frequent ear infections can interfere with the child being able to hear consistently. This causes the child to miss out on critical speech cues for producing clear speech (articulation) and developing language and understanding skills.
Thankfully through universal newborn hearing screening and advanced, objective audiologic testing, any child, including newborn infants, can receive an accurate hearing test.
The following websites provide more information regarding risk factors for permanent hearing loss and the impact of fluctuating hearing loss due to ear infections:
The ENT Physician and Audiologist Team
Early identification and early remediation of infant and childhood hearing loss are vital for successful speech and language development. A referral to an audiologist for a complete evaluation should be made at the first sign or suspicion of hearing loss in an infant or young child. Subjective and objective audiologic testing exists to be able to determine the type and degree of hearing loss in infants and children. The team of the ENT physician and audiologist help provide the means for early identification and remediation. Treatment required may be as simple as insertion of pressure equalization (PE) tubes for middle ear infections with associated conductive (temporary) hearing loss, hearing aid or advanced surgical intervention such as a cochlear implant for sensorineural (permanent) hearing loss or a combination of treatment options.
The following websites contain descriptions of hearing loss and treatment options for infants and children: