When should I have my child’s hearing checked? How does it impact development?

When your child is born, his/her hearing is automatically screened before leaving the hospital. After that, your child’s hearing may be assessed if he/she presents with chronic ear infections. A decision to have tubes put in a child’s ear(s) is made by an ENT to help alleviate and stop the persistent ear infections. Most children receive hearing screenings again when they enter into school.

Hearing significantly impacts a child’s speech and language development, particularly when he or she is just developing language as an infant and toddler. A child’s ability to learn and communicate directly corresponds to hearing: hearing and producing the different sounds in words as parents are talking with their children, responding to his/her name, following directions, answering questions, and learning vocabulary.

If your child has persistent ear infections or if you detect a problem with hearing ability, please get his/her hearing screened regularly. For chronic ear infections, your child may eventually require surgery to put tubes in their ears. Speech and language therapy helps close the gap with any developmental delays surrounding speech acquisition (i.e. learning speech sounds and using them to communicate) that may have persisted as a result of developmental and/or chronic hearing impairments.

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