Speech delays are a common issue among children, although the cause for them can be hard to pin down. They can come from a variety of issues, such as autism or hearing problems. With one in five Americans dealing with the latter in at least one ear, that is a possibility that is worth looking into if your child’s speech is delayed.
How Hearing Problems Cause Speech Delays
The connection between hearing problems and pediatric speech delays is simple. If the child’s ears aren’t working well, they can’t pick up on the sound of those speaking around them. This means they are unable to learn how to form words the right way and will need some extra help.
There are times when the speech delay is noticed before the hearing struggles, especially in children who aren’t completely deaf. Parents will realize that their child can’t say certain words right or that they don’t talk as much as they should. This is why doctors will generally ask if a child has had a hearing test when they are being seen for pediatric speech issues.
There is also the possibility that the child will speak too loud or too soft. This is a common sign that hearing problems are present because the child can’t monitor their volume on their own.
Treating Hearing Induced Speech Delays
Dealing with situations like this will require a combination of treatments. Pediatric speech therapists can help with the speech delay, but it will be easier if the hearing problem is being treated as well. This can be hard on parents because it often results in a lot of appointments they have to work into their schedule.
Addressing and treating hearing struggles will make speech therapy more successful. This is due to the fact that the child will be able to hear better and get more out of their time with their therapist. However, it is still possible to teach a child without perfect hearing how to shape words. Many people who are deaf are able to learn how to speak out loud relatively well along with sign language.
Both of these problems can likely be addressed with your child’s pediatrician. They will be able to provide you with a referral to both a speech therapist and a hearing doctor. Both places will perform testing to evaluate the child’s needs and create a plan of actions. It’s important as a parent to keep both doctors informed of what is happening at other appointments so that they can make informed decisions.