How Hearing Effects Language Development for Young Children

How Hearing Effects Language Development for Young Children

How Does Hearing Affect Language Development?

Notice how a young child will focus on your face while you’re talking, like she’s taking in every word you say? That’s because she is! A big part of how children learn language is by listening to people talk. That’s amazing and wonderful, as long as a child is hearing everything clearly. Any problems with hearing will affect how a child understands language, but also how she talks—and when she talks. If a child has repeated ear infections or fluid in her ear, that means that the language she hears sounds like she’s under water. And if that’s the case, no wonder if her words sound garbled when she starts to talk! Or if she gives you a totally blank expression when you ask her a question!

Hearing impacts language for everyone. Think about how much better you understand a conversation partner when he is facing you then if he’s turned away. That’s because part of how we take in information from a conversation partner is actually lip-reading. We all do it! That’s how we can tell the difference between some sounds, like “s” and “f.” If you don’t see the person’s lips while he’s talking, those sound the same, and you have to puzzle out which sound it was by the words around it (or the other sounds in the word).

The early months and years of a child’s life are critical for language development. If something is wrong with her hearing, she will need lots of help to catch up to the skill level of other children her age.

What Can I Do to Help My Child’s Language Development?

Any parent can help their child’s language skills develop by making sure to be facing the child when talking, and on the child’s level whenever possible. Also be sure to speak clearly, so that your words are not muffled or slurred. And children learn through repetition, so repeat key words over and over.

Where Might a Speech-Language-Pathologist Come In?

If you are doing all you can, and your child’s language skills (both what she understands and how she speaks) still seem to be behind, you can have a speech-language pathologist (SLP) evaluate your child to see if she or he can help. An SLP can help a child with receptive language skills (such as following directions, and making sure she is understanding the language she is hearing), expressive language (such as increasing the number of words she’s saying, and combining words into phrases and sentences), and articulation (such as how she is saying specific sounds, like “f” or “g”).

Part of an evaluation of a child’s language skills should include a hearing screening, because an SLP can only do so much if there’s a bigger problem with hearing that should be addressed first.

At Carolina Pediatric Therapy our expertise and experience benefit not only the child being treated, but their family as well. We strive for excellence in all forms of pediatric therapy and family support. If you have concerns or questions about your child or the services we offer, call us today at 828.670.8056.

How Hearing Effects Language Development for Young Children
Teresa Davis, MS, CCC-SLP

Print Friendly
10 Shares
Share8
Tweet
Pin1
Share1
+1