Hearing loss among children affects the development of their speech and language skills. The influence of hearing loss can even be seen among children with mild hearing loss. However, wearing hearing aids can help. A study from the U.S. shows the longer children with mild hearing loss wear a hearing aid, the better their speech and language skills develop.
Better speech and language skills
The researchers used data from 180 children aged 3-5 with varying degrees of hearing loss, almost all of whom had been fitted with a hearing aid. The children were individually evaluated through speech, language and articulation tests.
Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that the children with mild hearing loss experienced significantly improved speaking skills when wearing hearing aids. The improvements were even better the longer the child used the hearing aids. The results stressed the need to be more aware of children with mild hearing loss.
Mild hearing loss not taken seriously
Children with mild hearing loss can seem to appear as though they are fine, which makes it easier not to take the problem seriously. However, a fitted hearing aid has an influence on the child’s development, assess the researchers. Not only does it improve their ability to speak and their quality of life, their overall ability to function often improves as well.
It is of the utmost importance to have an individually fitted hearing aid. If the hearing aid is not fitted by a professional hearing health specialist, it can damage the hearing.
About the study
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Iowa and Boys town National Research Hospital in the U.S. The result was published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.