Hearing and Speech Issues are Common in Children
Hearing and speech issues are quite common in children, and can manifest in a number of ways. Understandably, this ambiguity can be concerning for parents, especially with all of the unknowns.
But it’s important to remember that these issues are usually manageable and treatable, especially with early intervention. That’s why it’s vital for the parents of young children to be well-informed on hearing and speech issues so they know all of their options.
After all, language is the basis of communication. Speech and language skills are essential to many areas in a child’s life, from interpersonal relationships to academic success. The ability to communicate, both with peers and adults, is essential for a child’s success.
Hearing and Speech Issues in Children: FAQs
With that in mind, let’s answer some common questions that you may have about hearing and speech issues in children.
Q: Do hearing and speech issues affect learning?
Learning takes place through the process of communication. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. If a child is unable to understand or respond to these “languages” appropriately, it could have a major impact on their future success both inside and outside of the classroom. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, there are four major ways in which hearing and speech issues affect children:
- It causes delays in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills (speech and language).
- The language deficit causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement.
- Communication difficulties often lead to social isolation and poor self-esteem.
- It may have an impact on vocational choices.
Q: Do hearing and speech issues affect performance at school?
Children with speech and hearing issues or communication disorders frequently do not perform at their grade level. The most common struggles are displayed in reading, understanding and expressing language, understanding social cues, attending school regularly, using good judgment, and test-taking.
Difficulty in learning to listen, speak, read, or write can result from problems in language development. Problems can occur in the production, comprehension, and awareness of language sounds, syllables, words, sentences, and conversation. Individuals with reading and writing problems also may have trouble using language to communicate, think, and learn.
Q: How do parents and school personnel work together to ensure a child gets the necessary speech-language support?
Any student who shows signs of speech and hearing issues or delays should be referred by parents or school personnel to their school-based Child Study Team (CST). A Child Study Team is a group of educational and health care professionals who will work with you to identify your child’s learning needs and strategies to ensure his or her academic success.
Screening, assessment, and treatment of communication problems may involve cooperative efforts with: parents, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), audiologists, psychologists, social workers, classroom teachers, special education teachers, guidance counselors, physicians, dentists, and nurses.
SLPs work with diagnostic and educational evaluation teams to provide comprehensive language and speech assessments for students.
Services to students with speech-language disorders may be provided in individual or small group sessions, in classrooms when teaming with teachers, or in a consultative model with teachers and parents. SLPs integrate students’ speech-language goals with academic outcomes and functional performance.
Q: How can I detect if my child could have hearing loss?
Some common signs of hearing loss in children may include:
- Hearing fine some of the time and then not responding at other times
- Wanting the TV volume louder than other members of the family
- Starting to speak more loudly than they have previously
- Saying “What?” or “I didn’t hear you” more often than normal
- Moving one ear forward when listening
- Complaining they can only hear out of a certain ear
- Falling grades or teacher observations that they don’t seem to hear or respond as well in the classroom as other children
- Appearing to not pay attention
- Looking at you intensely when you speak to them as though concentrating
These signs are just some of the many indicators that your child could have hearing loss. If you have noticed any of these signs or have additional concerns, ask your doctor for a referral.
Q: What should I do after a hearing problem is noted?
After recognizing that a problem exists, a hearing evaluation is the next step.
This evaluation should be performed by a licensed, certified clinical audiologist who specializes in evaluating and treating people with hearing loss, such as those at Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center.
After the type and severity of the hearing loss is identified, the audiologist will determine if the loss requires referral to a specialized physician or can be managed with hearing aids.
Q: What kinds of speech and language disorders affect school-age children?
The most common speech and language disorders that affect school-age children include:
Speech sound disorders: Difficulty pronouncing sounds
Language disorders: Difficulty understanding what they hear as well as expressing themselves with words
Cognitive-communication disorders: Difficulty with thinking skills such as perception, memory, awareness, reasoning, judgment, intellect and imagination
Stuttering fluency disorders: Interruption of the flow of speech that may include hesitations, repetitions, prolongations of sounds or words
Voice disorders: Difficulty with quality of voice that may include hoarseness, nasality, volume (too loud or soft)
Q: What can I do to prevent hearing loss in my child?
You can learn about the causes of hearing loss in children, such as exposure to loud noise, trauma to the head or ear, and diseases that affect hearing in order to eliminate or minimize risk. In addition, make sure to have their hearing regularly tested by an audiologist.
Hearing and speech issues can affect people of all ages and in many different ways. Early detection and appropriate intervention are essential to avoid or minimize long-term negative developmental effects and to enhance communication.
While this post was focused on hearing and speech issues in children, we also cover speech therapy for the elderly in this article.
Did you learn a lot from this article? Don’t miss these other posts on hearing and speech issues either:
- ADULT SPEECH DISORDERS AND HEARING LOSS
- HOW DOES HEARING LOSS AFFECT THE BODY?
- HOW ALLERGIES IMPACT HEARING
This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.