What does it mean to be Deaf?
If one is deaf, he is unable to hear. If one can hear, but has poor hearing, he may be considered to have a hearing impairment. A hearing impairment can be sensorineural (a problem with the inner ear) or conductive (a problem with the middle ear), and can have various configurations (i.e. high or low frequency loss).
What causes a hearing impairment?
A hearing impairment can be congenital or it can develop over time. Congenital hearing loss usually results from genetic problems or mutations, intrauterine infections, prematurity, RH factor complications, toxemia, or anoxia. Acquired hearing loss may result from disease, infection (i.e. otitis media), ototoxic drugs, exposure to noise, tumors, trauma, or aging.
How will my child’s hearing impairment progress if left untreated?
If left untreated, hearing loss in children can result in heightened risk for both receptive and expressive language disorders, as well as delayed and/or distorted speech development. Such disorders contribute to poor academic achievement, as most ASL-only users do not improve past a fourth grade reading level. Hearing impairment can also negatively affect social communication and vocational choices.
How can I help treat my child’s hearing impairment?
Treatment for a hearing impairment may include auditory training, speech reading, cued speech, manually coded English, use of ASL, and/or a fitting for hearing aids and auditory listening devices. Both speech-language pathologists and audiologists can play crucial roles in helping your child improve his hearing.
Our approach to a hearing impairment at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our pediatric speech-language pathologists are trained in a variety of multisensory, therapeutic techniques, which significantly help your child develop oral motor skills and improve his articulation capabilities. Our multiple therapy rooms are used to create an intimate, quiet environment in which we help your child develop receptive and expressive language skills, which will then carry over into larger, noisier environments.
Additionally, our pediatric occupational therapists are trained in improving your child’s fine motor skills, which are necessary for producing accurate “signs” when learning ASL or signed English.