What does Conductive hearing loss have to do with Speech and Language?
As a parent of a preschooler or young school aged child, do you become frustrated by your child’s “selective hearing”? Does your child frequently need instructions repeated to them? Maybe your child is not responding to soft speech sounds like s, sh, f, v, th or ch. Perhaps he needs to turn up the volume of the Ipad or TV or maybe she shouts or whispers while talking.
These signs may be red flags, telling us that your child could have Conductive Hearing loss.
What is Conduction Hearing Loss?
A conductive hearing loss occurs when it is hard for sound to get to the inner ear. There can be a blockage in the outer ear canal, (eg. excessive wax build up, water held in the ear canal), or in the middle ear, (a blocked eustachian tube). The blockage means that the eardrum is not able to adequately vibrate and transmit sound waves to the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss is most common in young children under 2 years of age and in severe cases, can develop into “glue- ear”. Glue-ear occurs when there is lots of thick and gooey fluid build-up, again, making it difficult for your child to hear sounds. This may impact your child’s speech and language development and consequently impact their educational progress.
So what can we do?
Early detection is a must! If your child’s hearing loss is not detected during the critical periods of language development (the early years), then it can lead to learning difficulties further down the track. Behavioural problems may also arise because of Conductive Hearing loss. These problems may occur when youngsters aren’t able to get their message across verbally and instead resort to physical means of communicating (E.G. grabbing, pushing, shoving). They can also look like poor concentration in the classroom or even behavioural outbursts out of frustration at not being able to get their message across. If you have concerns about your child’s hearing, consult your GP about getting their hearing tested.
How can Newcastle Speech Pathology help?
Our Speech Pathologists can assist your child, if they are presenting with any speech or language delays due to Conductive hearing loss. Our Speech Pathologists will always recommend for your child’s hearing to be tested first and foremost to understand the cause of your child’s speech and language delay or behavioural issues. Our Speech Pathologists will then work closely with you, as a parent, and with your child, in fun ways, to tailor an intervention program that suits your child.
If you are concerned about how Conductive hearing loss could be impacting on your child’s development, book in a consultation to chat to one of our experienced clinicians today.
Written by Caitlyn,
Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist