Finding out your child has a hearing loss comes as an enormous shock to most parents and caregivers. The Hearing House provides specialised support and clinical expertise for families of children in this situation. If your GP or audiologist refers your child to The Hearing House that is the first step in trying to help your child develop language like their hearing friends. What most people don’t realise is that even children who are profoundly deaf can these days develop natural sounding speech and participate fully in the hearing world – talking on the phone, listening to music and hearing their family say they love them. Follow the links below to find out more how we can help you and your child or call us on 09 579 2333 to talk to The Hearing House team.
Hearing is a bit like using any muscle in your body – if it’s not used then its functionality diminishes. So it is important for parts of the ears to be stimulated as early as possible. There is a critical window for speech and listening to develop in a child and that is ideally between birth and 3 years of age.
These days all babies should have their hearing tested within a few days of birth under the New Born Hearing Screening Programme. This is a non-invasive hearing test that measures whether a child’s brain is responding to sound. Further tests can be done later to determine if a child is hearing impaired and the level of hearing loss.
If you have a concern that your baby or toddler is not hearing things talk to your Plunket Nurse or GP about it. They can refer you on to have a proper hearing test with an audiologist. Sometimes children don’t have their hearing loss detected until after they are supposed to start speaking, so getting expert advice is really important.
Professionals who are Listening and Spoken Language Speacilists teach children with hearing loss how to listen and then how to speak. They aim to help even profoundly deaf children develop natural sounding speech and language so that they can fully participate in the hearing world.
Immediate Listening and Spoken Language therapy is very important even before the child has received appropriate amplification (hearing aid or cochlear implant). During this time the parent/s will learn how to interact with their child to accelerate their language development once appropriate amplification is achieved. This includes getting into the routine of attending therapy sessions and implementing strategies at home. Progress throughout this period is also an indicator of the child’s auditory potential.