Hearing plays a big role in a child’s development. As soon as they are born, they will start to use speech and environmental sounds to develop relationships, and the knowledge and skills they will need for later in life. A baby can begin to recognise sounds even when still in the womb.
Why a child’s hearing is important
During the first stages of life, a child has a great amount to learn. This will include how to express their needs, how to walk, how to clean themselves, amongst other things. Later, they will need to learn all the skills associated with going to school, such as social skills and how to read and write. All these skills are much easier to learn when a child can hear what is going on around them. This will happen not only through deliberate learning, but through incidental learning as well. This means they will learn through being taught, by picking up on things in their environment, as well as overhearing and observing others. If a child has poor hearing, they will have to put in much more effort to understand their surroundings, resulting in them tiring easily, leaving them with less energy to learn what needs to be learnt, and can lead to slower development.
Hearing loss also has a great impact on a person’s ability to communicate with others, which, if left unaddressed, can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and frustration. It is also likely to result in a delay in a child’s spoken language, which can lead to adverse effects on their academic performance and their social interactions.
Causes of hearing loss in children
Hearing loss can result from congenital and/or acquired causes.