By Rebecca Parker, Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS Cert. AVT)
This Speech Pathology Week, we’re highlighting an area of speech pathology which is often overlooked, but incredibly important. Speech pathologists play a large and critical role in supporting those living with hearing loss, and today we want to highlight the importance of seeing a specialist as soon as you pick up on any hearing loss signs from your children or loved ones.
Hearing loss affects 1 in 7 Australians. In children specifically, unmanaged hearing loss can lead to several difficulties with:
- Speech development
- Language development
- Literacy development and academic achievement
- Social communication
How do speech pathologists help people with hearing loss?
Speech pathologists support the communication skills of people with hearing loss, such as encouraging the development of listening skills to achieve spoken language (Auditory-Verbal Therapy).
They can also assist with alternative communication methods such as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Auslan (Australian Sign Language), lip reading, literacy development and social communication. Our aim is to help people communicate independently and effectively; teaching skills they will use in everyday life.
What signs should I look out for to indicate my child has hearing loss?
- If your baby doesn’t startle to loud noises, or turn their head to a sound
- Unsure of which direction a sound has come from
- Differences in the way they sound when speaking, when considering other children of the same age
- Difficulties with forming words and sentences and understanding directions
- Frustration when trying to communicate with others
- The child says “What?” or “Huh?” often
- If they want the TV volume turned up
- Overtired or fatigued after a day at kindergarten, childcare or school
- Behavioural or attention problems at home or in the classroom
- Experiencing learning difficulties
Strategies to help someone with a hearing loss:
- Get their attention (e.g., by tapping them or waving) before talking to them
- Reduce background noise (e.g., turning the TV/radio off when not in use)
- Get face to face with the person when speaking to them
- Reduce distance between both communication partners
- Speak clearly, but don’t shout
What we do at Superyou Therapy for clients with hearing loss:
- We can provide speech and language assessments to determine areas that may require support
- Our team of speech pathologists can assist you with getting in contact with the appropriate professionals to support other goals
- We can provide guidance with assistive technologies, to ensure you are as independent as possible in your everyday life
With no waiting list, don’t delay seeking help from our professional and experienced speech pathologists. Our friendly team are passionate about delivering therapy and are excited to meet new clients!