Speech and language problems associated with hearing impairment

Hearing difficulties can affect development of all or just some areas of speech and language, depending on the type and severity of the deafness.

Our Speech and Language Therapist may have a role in helping you and others develop your child's:

  • Awareness of speech sounds
  • Understanding of spoken and sign language
  • Talking and signing skills.

Hearing impairment can vary from mild through to profound. The National Deaf Children's society explains the difference between the two main types of deafness as:

Sensori-neural deafness, or nerve deafness as it is sometimes called, is a hearing loss in the inner ear.

Conductive deafness means that sound cannot pass through the outer and middle ear into the inner ear. This is often caused by blockages such as wax in the outer ear or fluid in the middle ear (glue ear).
For more information visit:  www.ndcs.org.uk

The Speech and Language Therapist's Role
Many children with conductive deafness are unable to hear certain speech sounds clearly, which in turn, affects their ability to say the words clearly. They may also have problems listening and concentrating, so their general language development may be delayed as well.

The Speech and Language Therapist will decide whether treatment is appropriate after obtaining up to date information from the Audiology or Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) department, and discussion with the other specialists involved such as the Teacher for the Hearing Impaired.

If you have concerns about your child's hearing ask your health visitor or GP to refer them for a hearing test.

Specialist Teacher's Role
Teachers who have specialist skills in supporting children with hearing impairment are available to support children with significant hearing difficulties, including children who wear hearing aids.  The Special Needs Coordinator at your child's school will know if it is appropriate to contact this service regarding your child.