Hearing Loss Affects Early Language Development

Here you'll find some valuable information about how and when to recognize a possible hearing loss during your child's formative years.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that 2-3 children for every 1000 will have a detectable form of hearing loss. It is important to know how to identify a potential hearing loss during the developmental stages of your child's youth.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has provided some examples of behavioral patterns for language development relative to age categories during a child’s formative years.

If your child is experiencing hearing loss and you have already been to an audiologist to find a solution, then you know about the importance of hearing aids that fit properly. 

Common Sounds and Gestures During Child Development

  • From birth to 4 months:
    - Wakes up/unsettled by loud sounds
    - Responsive to voice/familiar voices begin calming
    - Louder sounds trigger a reaction

  • From 4 - 9 months
    - Is able to recognize noise coming from toys/devices
    - Turns his/her head in the direction of your voice
    - Picks up on basic hand motions (waving hi and bye)

  • From 10 - 15 months
    - Makies audible noises when needing attention
    - Comprehends simple requests
    - Repeats simple sounds
    - Reacts and responds to being called by name

  • From 15 - 24 months
    - Progress to using words, develop favored words
    - Identifies common items by name
    - Listens intently to music, stories, games
    - Points at objects you call out

A recent study on the Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss (OCHL) examined the hearing, speech, language, and psychosocial outcomes of children with hearing loss between the ages of six months to seven years. The study was conducted at three major research institutions and determined that:

  • As many as 35% of children who wear hearing aids had poorly fitted ones, negatively affecting the children’s speech recognition
  • The greater the degree of a child’s hearing loss, the greater the impact on language.
  • The language development of children with mild to severe hearing loss is poorer than that of children that hear well.
  • Properly fitting hearing aids are associated with better rates of language development.

 If your child has hearing loss, it is critical to have them visit a local specialist to have their hearing aids properly and professionally fitted.


language development in children, child hearing loss

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