Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Encourage Language in Toddlers: Part Two

Encouraging Language: Rule out a Hearing Loss
If you are worried about your child's speech and/or language development, here's the first thing you should do: Rule out a hearing loss.  This does NOT mean standing behind your child and clapping your hands or jiggling some keys around to see if they notice.  A hearing loss can be very mild or very severe.  Each and every type of hearing loss can go undetected for one reason or another.

(This is my little guy after he passed his newborn hearing screening - yay!)

Most every newborn nowadays gets their hearing checked at birth - which is a great thing - but sometimes a hearing loss develops as the child grows.  In addition, newborn hearing screenings are conducted at slightly louder levels, which means that they could pass the test but still have a very mild hearing loss.  What all that means is, even if your child passed a newborn screening, they could still have a hearing loss.  I'm not trying to scare you here.  There's a very good chance that your child doesn't have a hearing loss.  But you'll never know unless you get them tested.  Find a local pediatric audiologist who can give your child a quick test.  I always say that nothing is worse than not knowing.  Do you agree?  The key here is to recognize that even a mild hearing loss can cause significant delays in speech and language development.  Once you have a hearing loss ruled out then you can rest easy knowing that your child will have no problems hearing all the language that you model for them.

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