Oral language and listening therapy for young children with hearing loss: 8 things everyone should know

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  1. Dramatic improvements in universal newborn hearing screening have led to significant reductions in the age at which most children with hearing loss are identified.
  1. Many – but not all – parents choose for their children to use hearing technologies, acquire spoken language, and enrol in local schools.
  1. Family-centred management of hearing loss may include early fitting of amplification, enrolment in early intervention, and, for children with bilateral severe and profound sensorineural hearing loss, the use of cochlear implants. 
  1. One way of helping children with hearing loss to learn spoken (oral) language is auditory-verbal therapy (AVT) with the support of Listening and Spoken Language Specialists (LSLS) and Audiologists. This therapy includes speech and language goals, and also audition (listening) goals following a hierarchy that includes detection, discrimination of words, identification of prosody, vowels and consonants, and language comprehension.
  1. The Ling Six-Sound Test covers the speech range for English: /m/, /u/, /a/, /i/, “sh” and /s/ and can be used to monitor a child’s access to the speech spectrum. 
  1. In AVT, hearing, listening, speaking, reading, writing and thinking support each other. 
  1. Strategies to support listening, language and literacy for children with hearing loss include songs and music, listening to stories, personal FM transmission systems at home, preschool and school, language experience books, reading aloud, phonological awareness training, training families to use narration, and evidence-based literacy instruction.
  1. Many children with hearing loss can now access auditory information almost from birth, and therapy to obtain language and literacy levels equal to their hearing peers.  For much more information, check out The Shepherd Centre in Australia.
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Main source: Houston, K.T., Robertson, L., Wray, D. (2018). Providing Interventions that Support Literacy Acquisition in Children with Hearing Loss. What Professionals Need to Know. Topics in Language Disorders, 38(3), 242-260.

Man wearing glasses and a suit, standing in front of a bay

Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.

Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language

Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.

David Kinnane
Speech-Language Pathologist. Lawyer. Father. Reader. Writer. Speaker.

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