It shouldn’t be surprising that hearing loss can affect our ability to communicate. However, the ways that it can affect communication skills and our overall health are surprising. However, the age that we experience the loss has the most impact rather than the loss itself.

Hearing Loss in Children

In the childhood years, hearing loss can affect a child’s speech and language skills. When a child has difficulty hearing, the areas of the brain used for communication may not develop properly. This makes talking and understanding speech very difficult if they do regain the ability to hear.

Most hearing losses in children are identified through screening at birth as part of the overall health assessment. Some children are not diagnosed until later when their parents realize that their speech or language skills are not progressing. Earlier identification and management of hearing loss can result in better outcomes for the child and their ability to communicate.

Children with hearing loss may have difficulty with:

  • Hearing and understanding sound around them: If they cannot hear the sounds properly, they will not be able to follow speech sounds.
  • Making speech sounds: If a child cannot hear the sounds, they will not be able to recreate them as part of their speech development.
  • Learning new words: Children learn new words all the time. For children aged one year, they should have around a 20-word vocabulary. By the time a child is two years old, they should have a 200 to 300-word vocabulary. Their vocabulary grows to be about 900 to 1,000 words by the time they are three years old. The typical four-year-old child will have about a 1,500 to 1,600-word vocabulary at their disposal.
  • Putting together sentences: If they cannot learn new words, they will not be able to form a sentence as their vocabulary will be limited.
  • Using correct grammar: Grammar is important, and the lack of words will cause them to use incorrect grammar, such as using the correct pronouns.
  • Effectively expressing themselves: Toddlers have tantrums because they cannot express themselves due to limited speech. Children with hearing problems will have more issues as their vocabulary will be limited for longer.
  • Understanding speech from other people: Children may be able to follow their parent’s speech patterns and understand what is happening around them, but they have issues with strangers and unfamiliar environments.
  • Following directions in quiet and noisy places: Children with hearing loss may not realize the noise level difference in different places, such as needing to be quiet in a library.
  • Paying attention and controlling behavior: As we mentioned, children who cannot communicate efficiently, especially toddlers, are prone to have tantrums. Although older children do not have tantrums as such, they can feel frustrated with not being able to communicate their wishes.
  • Following conversations with multiple people: One-on-one conversations can be easy to follow, but when multiple people are speaking at once, this can cause issues as they cannot follow along.

Hearing Loss in Adults

With adults, people who experience hearing loss can have a drop in self-esteem and confidence. This is because of their impaired ability to communicate with other people. Experiencing hearing loss can also limit your ability to learn to speak a new language.

Although hearing loss in adults does not have the same language impact as it does in children, there are some ways that it can affect how we communicate with the world.

Hearing loss can affect a person in these main ways:

  • Fewer educational and job opportunities: Many jobs require a certain level of hearing such as the armed forces.
  • Social withdrawal: This is due to reduced access to services and difficulties communicating with others.
  • Emotional problems: This is caused by a drop in self-esteem and confidence.
  • Physical issues: Hearing loss can affect a person’s balance which can cause more trips and falls.

To learn more about Imagine Hearing Solutions and what they can do for you, call us today at (530) 392-4533.