The child is exposed to sounds even before birth, in the womb, but a child born with impaired hearing has not had access to the same acoustic impressions as a child with normal hearing. As the sense of hearing is essential to the development of speech and language, a child with hearing impairment may risk delayed language development.
When a child with impaired hearing receives a hearing aid, there is a greater probability that he or she will be able to receive the sound impressions that are essential to language development. The longer the time that passes before the child is given a hearing aid, the greater the risk that linguistic nuances may be lost. This delay can be avoided or reduced by providing sound amplification with hearing aids at an early stage.
Right from the child's first few months, there are already things you can do to optimise communication with him or her.
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Speech and language learning
Participation in speech and language training may be a possibility as early as kindergarten age, if you want to give your child the best possible preparation for kindergarten and school. The audiologist associated with your child will be able to advise you on the solution that is most appropriate for your child.
Speech-hearing therapists have various basic techniques and tools which they use to teach children and help them to develop a good language. They will teach the child to recognise and say certain sounds, words and phrases.
Teachers are a crucial part of the network that will support your child on his or her way through life. Children with severe hearing impairment usually attend special schools, but where possible, many parents prefer their children to attend an ordinary school rather than a special school.
Teachers must understand the importance of the listening environment for the child. In addition to the effect that hearing has on learning, a good listening environment may also be crucial to the child's social and emotional well-being in school. It is important for a child to be able to join in the surrounding activity.
It is therefore important to have a committed support team for your child. Remember that there are also support associations for parents of children with hearing impairment. Here you can share experiences with other parents in similar situations, and get advice on how you can help to create the best situation for your child in school, including in the contact with support teams.
There are also a number of assistive devices in the school environment which can help to support your child's learning in school.