This is an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and promote treatment that can advance or improve the quality of life for those that experience problems with understanding, speaking, or hearing.
More than 5 million children suffer from a speech, language, or hearing disorder in the United States!
A lot of times parents are uninformed and unsure what to do when they suspect their child has an issue. If you suspect your child has a communication disorder, we recommend speaking with the child’s doctor, and possibly setting up a speech evaluation, with a speech/language therapist. Our goal is to provide parents with information about communication disorders and help the child succeed in their ability to learn, socialize, and be successful in school and life. The good news is that most children with speech or language problems can be helped and grow to live normal lives and function normally in the outside world.
Speech and language problems can occur anytime in a child’s life. A child can be born with a disorder, or they may possibly come from an injury, or illness.
Common speech and language problems include:
· Articulation problems
· Language disorders such as slow development or concepts, vocabulary and grammar.
· Voice disorders (breathy, nasal, horse voice and speech that is too high or low)
Hearing loss, like speech and language problems can have a negative impact on a child’s academic and social development as well. Hearing loss in children can also occur at any age, they can be born with a hearing disorder, or slowly lose hearing as they grow older due to injury, chronic ear infections (this is pretty rare), serious infections, such as meningitis, middle ear fluid or exposure to noise. Sadly the earlier hearing loss occurs in a child’s life the more serious effects it will have on the child’s development.
Typical signs of hearing loss include:
· Inconsistently responding to sound
· Delayed language and speech development
· Unclear speech
· Sound is turned up on electronic equipment (radio, TV, cd player, etc.)
· Does not follow directions
· Often says “Huh?”
· Does not respond when called
· Frequently misunderstands what is said and wants things repeated
Again, the first thing to do if you think your child suffers from hearing loss is speak with their doctor. The doctor will probably set an appointment to see a certified audiologist. An audiologist specializes in identifying, assessing and treating hearing disorders.
There are a few different types of hearing loss: Sensory, Conductive, Mixed (sensory and conductive combined), and neural.
· Conductive- this is a usually temporary and happens when there is a problem with a part of the middle or outer ear. Usually it is mild and medical treatment helps.
· Sensory- this is when the cochlea is not working correctly because the tiny hair cells are damaged or destroyed. Sensory is usually always permanent and their ability to talk normally is may also be impaired.
· Neural- this happens when there is a problem with the connection from the brain to the cochlea. Neural refers to related to the nerve, so the nerve that carries messages to the brain from the cochlea is damaged.
The type of treatment depends on the type of hearing loss, how severe it is and the child’s other needs. With most treatments a child will be able to hear again, some of them include, hearing aids, operations, medications, or assistive listening devices which emphasize voices and help kids hear better in noisy settings.