Children with hearing loss struggle with speech

Hearing impaired children have difficulty learning words and language skills.

According to an Australian study involving 86 children aged 7 and 8 years with hearing aids, hearing impaired children face more difficulties than other children in their speech development and reading.

Hearing is essential for speech development as well as learning how to read. The study found the hearing impaired children to be, on average, 10 months behind normal hearing children of the same ages in reading.

The ability of the children to understand speech and to speak was also found to be clearly linked to their hearing ability. Based on tests of the ability of the children to express themselves, the study found that children with hearing loss performed 26 percent below normal hearing children. In comprehension of speech, the hearing impaired children performed 20 percent below other children.

Correct pronunciation is another challenge for the hearing impaired children. Tests resulted in three times as many mispronunciations among the hearing impaired children when compared to other children.

The researchers behind the study estimated that 66 percent of the hearing impaired children suffer from a significant speech learning handicap.

Source: Outcomes of Children With Mild-Profound Congenital Hearing Loss at 7 to 8 Years: A Population Study, Ear & Hearing, February, 2004

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