As a family with a child recently diagnosed with hearing loss, you will find yourself faced with many challenging decisions about your child’s hearing impairment and treatment of their hearing loss. Perhaps one of the first challenges you may face is deciding what amplification system would be most appropriate for your child.
This booklet is designed to give you some basic information about hearing loss. The effects of your child’s hearing loss on the sounds he is able to hear are discussed. Possible amplification options are reviewed. This booklet aims to serve as an initial aid as you embark on a new pathway with your child. We hope it provides you with some useful information and assists you in making the best decision for your child.
Approaches To Communication
We all communicate in different ways: with facial expressions, gestures and body language as well as through speech and hearing. Each child is different and there are many different ways to help your child to communicate. Your local teacher of the deaf or speech and language therapist will be able to discuss the options and give further advice.
A method that emphasizes use of residual hearing and lip-reading to teach spoken language.
This is similar to the oral-aural approach/ but lip-reading is not used. It is often referred to as “active listening”.
A visual and manual language using hand shapes and the rest of the body, including the face, to convey words and concepts, e.g. British Sign Language (BSL). Sign language is an independent language with a specific vocabulary and grammatical structure.
- A habilitation approach consisting of the integration of oral/aural and manual communication strategies.
- Although these are separate ways of communicating with your child, some people choose to use them in combination. Some parents may choose to talk to their child, whilst others use speech and sign. Some parents maybe hearing impaired themselves, and may choose to communicate with their child using oral-aural communication or sign language. The mode of communication you use with your child may change overtime, depending on their amplification, schooling and other factors. Ask your local professional about the different communication options and resources available.
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Aids For Listening
Simple communication begins even before we learn to speak, through facial expressions, like a smile and later with simple signs and gestures. The goal of aids for listening is to make speech sounds heard so that speech and spoken language can develop as normally as possible.
- A hearing aid is a device that makes sounds louder and clearer for the wearer, the aim is to make all the sounds of speech clear enough to be heard.
- Hearing aids for young children may be worn behind the ear (BTE or post-aural), in the ear (ITE) or on the body. Most infants will be provided with a BTE aid.
- A microphone picks up sound, which is amplified then sent into the ear through a connecting tube and earmould. The earmould has to fit exactly to give the best possible sound quality, the shape of the ear will be copied by taking an impression which will be sent away for the mould to be made.
- A cochlear implant is an electronic device designed to help individuals with a very severe or profound
- degree of hearing loss, who gain little or no benefit from hearing aids.
- Cochlear implant systems convert everyday sound into coded electrical impulses. These electrical impulses stimulate the hearing nerve and the brain interprets them as sound.
- It consists of two parts: an internal implant that is put in place under surgery and an external part known as the speech processor.
- The speech processor is worn behind the ear.
Types Of Hearing Loss:-
Conductive Hearing Loss
- Any problem in the outer or middle ear can block the normal sound path to the inner ear and cause a conductive hearing loss.
- Conductive losses are usually mild or moderate in degree, causing hearing loss of up to 50-60 decibels.
- This is often a temporary type of hearing loss such as caused by ear infection, blocked nose or colds but in rare cases may get worse over time or even be permanent.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
- Any damage to the sensitive inner ear hair cells can lead to a sensorineural hearing loss.
- The degree of hearing loss can range from mild through moderate to a severe or profound hearing loss.
- This is a permanent type of hearing loss that will not get better but can sometimes get worse. It is possible for someone to have a conductive loss in addition to a sensorineural loss.
Degree Of Hearing Loss
- The chart below shows the loudness of different sounds around us.
- The “banana” shape indicates the area where most speech sounds typically occur.
- The pictures show the loudness and pitch of some everyday sounds.
- You can draw your child’s audiogram on top of this chart to get an idea of what sounds your child can hear.