November 23, 2015

Child Speech Therapy: Hearing Impairment

Step by Step Care Group’s speech therapists provide treatment in child speech therapy for children with hearing loss. Children diagnosed with a hearing impairment often have speech and language delays, as well as difficulty with advancing their social skills.
A hearing impairment is any abnormality in parts of the ear that causes hearing loss. Hearing impairments can range from mild to profound and are categorized as either conductive or sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss is the result of dysfunction in the outer or middle ear. Sensorineural hearing loss is due to damage in the inner ear or auditory nerve.
The sooner your child receives appropriate treatment, the easier it will be for your child to succeed and reach his or her full potential. Therefore, if you are noticing any symptoms of hearing issues, contact your doctor immediately for a full audiology report.
The symptoms in babies include:
  • Not startled by loud noises
  • Nonverbal at age 1 or older      
  • Does not turn toward the source of sound
The symptoms in children include:
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Delay in speech
  • Inability for the parent to understand the child’s speech
  • Turns volume too high when watching TV or listening to music
  • Often says “What” or “huh”
Causes may vary from case to case and 1 out 4 cases has an unknown explanation. The most common cause of conductive hearing loss is otitis media. Otitis media is the result of inflammation in the middle ear, possibly caused by an upper respiratory infection. The inflammation creates build-up of fluid without appropriate drainage. If the inflammation is long lasting, it may impact hearing, speech and language development. It is important to have regular visits to the physician, in case there is a need for ventilation tubes or other medical treatment.
The most common sensorineural loss may be a result of maternal infection during pregnancy, complications after birth or a head injury such as anoxia. Some instances of sensorineural may be caused by an exposed infection before birth, a blood transfusion, a misshapen head, a neurological disorder or a bad head injury.
1 out of every 2 cases has a genetic link due to family members who also suffer from hearing loss. Hearing loss may be a symptom of a non-hereditary genetic condition such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome.
Treatments may vary depending on the type of hearing impairment. If a child has otitis media, surgery for ventilation tubes may be the solution. If hearing loss is chronic, other treatment plans may include learning sign language, using hearing aids or receiving cochlear implants. Early intervention for child speech therapy is encouraged for all children with hearing loss, since many children suffering from hearing loss have missed out on early auditory experiences. Along with speech therapy, it is important to schedule regular visits with your child’s pediatrician.
If you think your child might have hearing loss, contact your pediatrician immediately. Contact Step By Step Care Group today for a consultation or to discuss treatment plan options with one of our speech therapists in Chicago!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 04 Aug. 2015.

Swigert, Nancy B. “Chapter 4: Medical Disorders and Syndromes Associated with Children birth to three”. Early Intervention Kit. East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems, 2004. 43-44. Print.

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