Hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities at birth, affecting more than one in 1,000 babies born each year. Accounting for later acquired hearing loss, permanent childhood hearing loss affects more than three in every 1,000 Australian children by age five. Ninety two per cent of children with permanent hearing loss are born to hearing parents.
More than 90 per cent of children born with hearing loss have the potential to receive listening benefit from hearing devices, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants. To maximise listening and spoken language development, children with hearing loss require amplification – through hearing devices – and specialised listening and spoken language early intervention.
Early diagnosis & access to sound
Early diagnosis of hearing loss and access to sound are integral to successful speech and language development.
Access to sound during infancy and early childhood is necessary for the development of speech and language.
Listening and spoken language therapy stimulates auditory brain development, enabling children to give meaning to sound, laying down neural pathways for listening and spoken language development.
First Voice member and affiliated centres provide listening and spoken language early intervention services to develop listening and spoken language skills in infants and children with deafness or permanent hearing loss.
This is a parent-based model of therapy, where one or both parents are taught how to teach their child living with hearing loss to listen and speak. The parent is taught how to create and use a listening and learning environment in the home and else-where so their child can develop spoken language using their ‘aided’ hearing.
This home-based therapy is supported by one-on-one and/or group therapy sessions guided by a multi-disciplinary professional team.
Early diagnosis of hearing loss and optimal amplification of sound via an assistive listening device are critical to successful speech and language development.
Creating futures with sound
The vast majority of children with hearing loss have the potential to listen and speak if provided with the opportunity to do so. Listening and spoken language therapy has been proven to be the most effective in developing spoken language and educational outcomes for children with hearing loss.