Communication Skills in Children with Hearing Loss

Posted in: Hearing News  |  January 13, 2012 
Communication Skills in Children with Hearing Loss

More than 12,000 American infants are born with hearing loss each year, according to the CDC. The causes for general hearing loss are often unknown, but with the proper care, hard of hearing children can significantly improve their language skills for home and school.

Hearing loss is especially important to monitor in early childhood, when language and communication skills are developing quickly. A good deal of critical language learning often takes place by age 3. Now, the CDC recommends that all newborns receive hearing screenings as soon as possible, and preferably before they leave the hospital.

For a child diagnosed with hearing loss, parents can take active steps to help the child understand and use language more effectively.

  • Use short, simple sentences. Recent studies have shown that toddlers with hearing loss understand language better if their mothers speak to them more, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Simple sentences are key to comprehension.
  • Talk about subjects that interest the child. If children are engaged in conversation rather than passive participants, then they’re more likely to pick up valuable language skills.
  • Keep media use in check. ASHA reports that hard-of-hearing toddlers generally maintain better language skills if they grew up in a household where TV and other forms of electronic media were limited.
  • Work with a professional. With a clear understanding of how ears work and how to boost the learning process, hearing specialists can recommend language training (such as American Sign Language, finger spelling or speech therapy) or hearing aids for children.

Children with warning signs like these should receive professional attention to catch potential problems early:

  • Inconsistent reactions to the child’s name or other sounds
  • Slow or unclear speech development
  • Ongoing requests for speech to be repeated.

Parents who believe their children might have hearing trouble can contact our offices for further help. Each child is different and requires a unique approach, but with the right assistance, strong language skills are well within reach.