Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is when some or all of the sound frequencies cannot be heard and interpreted correctly. It can be either conductive (damage to any of the structures of the outer to the inner ear) or sensorineural (dysfunction in the inner ear). Hearing loss can be congenital (from birth) or acquired.
Speech and language therapy will help individuals with hearing loss who have difficulties in their speech, language or communication. The type of treatment and support given will depend on the severity and type of hearing loss. Speech and language therapy will help individuals with hearing loss to communicate to their best potential.
What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss is when someone has difficulty hearing some or all of the sound frequencies. This can be from birth or be acquired later in life. Hearing loss can be classified into two areas:
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss is when there is damage causing dysfunction to any of the structures of the ear. This could include the outer ear, middle ear or eardrum. This then affects how sound is conducted through the ear. Sound will often be muffled and quiet, however tone and frequency is still recognisable. This type of loss can either be temporary or permanent and can sometimes be corrected through medication or surgical procedure.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is when there is a dysfunction in the inner ear; this is most commonly the cochlea which is where sound waves are converted into nerve signals. It could also be caused by damage to the auditory nerve. Someone with a sensorineural hearing loss will most likely, have it from birth, however it can also develop as a result of illness or trauma in later life. This type of hearing loss will be permanent and can sometimes be helped by the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. Hearing will not be very clear and a person may struggle to understand speech and find it difficult to interpret sounds, especially those of high frequency. This hearing loss can be age related or noise induced.
It is possible to have both types of hearing loss at the same time. This is known as a mixed hearing loss.
What causes hearing loss?
There can be various causes of hearing loss. Some of which are listed below:
- Exposure to sudden loud noise
- Ear infection
- Common cold or allergies
- Head trauma or trauma to the ear drum
- Genetic conditions
- Disease such as meningitis or measles
What problems caused by Hearing Loss can speech and language therapy help with?
Speech and language therapy can help someone who is suffering from hearing loss. Speech and language therapy may focus on one or more of the following areas:
- Improving Attention and Listening
- Comprehension Problems
- Expressive Language Problems
- Speech Sound Problems
- Communication Problems
- Language Delay and Impairment
By working on these areas, a client may develop coping strategies and other methods of communication if necessary. A speech and language therapist will be able to discuss the best method of communication for each individual and if necessary introduce other means, such as sign language.
How does speech and language therapy help hearing loss?
Speech and language therapy can be extremely beneficial for clients with hearing loss. This is because therapists are able to suggest other means of communication if necessary, or develop those skills already possessed by an individual. Speech and language therapy can improve a client's communication skills and help them to develop coping strategies and management of their communication difficulties.
Speech and language therapy for hearing loss has many benefits, some of these are:
- Improved Receptive Communication
- Improved Expressive Communication
- Improved Speech
- Help Getting Back to Work
- Increased Independence
- Increased Social Opportunities
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety
- Increasing Confidence and Self-Esteem
- Improved Understanding
- Improved Quality of Life
What would speech and language therapy treatment for hearing loss involve?
Speech and language therapy for hearing loss may involve one or more of the following:
- Assessments and Reports
- One to One Therapy
- Therapy Programmes
- Consultative Role
- Medicolegal Reports
- Alternative and Augmentative Communication
- Clinic visits
- home visits
- School and Nursery Visits
- Advice and Education
- Early Intervention
An initial assessment will be carried out by one of our Speech and language therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties concerning communication and speech. It will also provide a chance to share any concerns, and allow for discussion on what to work on and improve.
How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?
To arrange an initial assessment with one our speech and language therapists please email email@example.com or call 0330 0885 643.
Hearing loss, also referred to as hearing impairment, has many different causes. The degree of hearing loss can range from mild to severe. Speech and language therapy will help someone with a hearing loss and if necessary, be able to provide different methods of communication and introduce this into everyday life. To book an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists please call 0330 0885 643.
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