Hearing loss can affect anyone regardless of age or background. This condition occurs when the ear and its respective components are unable to function properly, leading to a diminished capacity to hear sounds and understand speech.
Impact on Speech & Language Development
The ability to hear is a critical foundation for speech and language development. The human brain learns to process sounds and associate them with meaning during the early years of life, which leads to verbal speech and language development. When a person has an early hearing impairment, these crucial developmental milestones can be compromised, because what is not clearly heard, cannot be associated with meaning. Therefore, the tool of speech and language, which we need to manipulate our caregivers into providing us with what we need, does not evolve properly.
For individuals with hearing loss, the impact can be far-reaching, affecting not only speech and language development but also academic performance, social interactions, and overall quality of life. Specifically, hearing loss can impact the auditory feedback loop, which includes the hearing, processing, and interpretation of sounds. When the auditory feedback loop is disrupted, individuals with hearing loss may have difficulty recognizing and processing spoken words, leading to delays in language acquisition and difficulty with speech production.