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    Hearing Loss and It’s Impact Speech and Learning Development

    An “educationally significant hearing loss” is any hearing impairment that affects communication with others. A child with this type of hearing loss might require modification of teaching materials or assistance in the classroom. According to pediatric research, “educationally significant hearing loss” affects 12 in 1000 children.

    Hearing loss in children can have a negative impact on development across multiple domains such as:

    • Receptive and expressive communication (speech and language);
    • Learning, resulting in a reduction in academic success;
    • Social interactions and self-esteem.

    Children’s hearing has a direct impact on the way that they speak. Therefore, speech errors can be a reflection of poor amplification and accessibility to certain sounds. The most common cause of hearing loss in children is a fluctuating hearing loss due to inflammation or fluid in the middle ear space. If there are concerns regarding middle ear fluid and/or functioning, your doctor will monitor your child’s middle ear status and determine appropriate treatment. Early intervention for permanent hearing loss allows babies and children to catch-up to their hearing peers in terms of speech development. These interventions might be in the form of hearing aids or cochlear implants, which are small electronic devices implanted behind the ear that replace the functions of a damaged inner ear.

    What Can You Do As a Parent?

    If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing, ask your doctor for a developmental milestones checklist. If your child is not meeting milestones for speech and language development, a hearing test by an audiologist is typically recommended, in order to rule out a hearing loss. Furthermore, an assessment with a Speech-Language Pathologist might be appropriate, in order to determine whether intervention is required.

    At Boomerang Health, we can evaluate your child’s hearing and speech/language development, and provide recommendations if your child is not meeting their developmental milestones in these areas. Give us a call if you have any questions, and we’d be happy to assist!

    About Sabrina DeToma, Audiologist, Doctor of Audiology

    Sabrina DeToma is an Audiologist with a clinical doctorate degree in Audiology, the highest academic credential in the field of Clinical Audiology. She has over 10 years of experience working in the Audiology and Otolaryngology department at St. Michael’s Hospital, the Audiology and paediatric Otolaryngology department at North York General Hospital and various private audiology practices in the Greater Toronto Area.