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When Your Child Has Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be categorized as a hidden disability as its cannot be detected with physical view. Statistical figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that 360 million people from all around the world are identified to have hearing loss. Among them, 32 million are children.

A healthy newborn baby just cannot be excluded from hearing loss. Therefore, it is very important to have each and every baby to receive early detection and intervention for hearing loss. Yoshinaga-Itano (1995) recommended that every baby with hearing loss should be detected by the age of three months and receives appropriate intervention by the age of six months old.

Intervention Plan for Children with Hearing Loss

Intervention plan for children with hearing loss will be carried out by the audiologist, speech-language therapists, medical specialists and other related professions.

Following are the main tasks of an audiologist in managing children with hearing loss :

  • Conducting hearing assessment.
  • Diagnosing the type and degree of hearing loss.
  • Selecting suitable hearing amplification device.
  • Providing counseling and hearing aid care guidance.
  • Reviewing and validating hearing aid fitting to ensure that hearing aid is functioning well and the child is getting optimum benefit from the amplification.
  • Altering hearing aid setting if necessary.
  • Follow-up review of hearing aid fitting.

After the hearing aid fitting, children will be referred for intensive speech-therapy. Speech-language therapist will assess children’s both receptive and expressive language skills, cognitive development and listening ability. Besides that, children will be habilitated to develop speech based on gradually developing listening skill. Speech and language assessment shall be useful in determining school placement for children with hearing loss.

Other professions who may involve in children’s hearing loss intervention plan are as the following :

  1. Otorhinolaryngologist / Ear,Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist
    • Will conduct thorough examination on children to specify the cause of hearing loss and whether medical treatment is required.
    • May order blood test, medical check-up and medical scan if necessary.
  2. Pediatrician
    • Monitors childrens’ overall developmental milestone.
    • Diagnoses other syndromes that are co-existing with hearing loss in children.
  3. Geneticist
    • Investigates genetic causes of hearing loss in pediatric patients.
    • Offers genetic counseling for parents of children with hearing loss.
  4. Psychologist
    • Assesses on children’s intellectual development on par with children’s age.
  5. Neurologist
    • Evaluates on children’s physical and motor development to rule-out developmental delay.
  6. Occupational therapist
    • Provides therapy for children with fine motor problems and sensory problems such as hyperactivity or hyposensitivity towards touch, taste and visual.
  7. Physiotherapist
    • Provides therapy for children with balance and gross motor problem.

Establishing Realistic Expectations among Parents

  • Hearing aid will only amplify sound intensity from the surrounding. The device could not restore childrens’ hearing back to normal. Therefore, children are expected to use the device for most of the waking hours.
  • Children who have been fitted with hearing aids must attend speech therapy to increase the chance of better speech development.
  • Post-fitting audiology follow-up is important to verify and validate that children is receiving optimal benefit from hearing aid.

Effect of Late Detection and Intervention

Our Hearing is important in everyday situations. We need hearing to socialise, communicate and learn. Normal hearing is essential for the development of speech and language.

Late detection and intervention of hearing loss can lead to the delay of the childrens’ speech and language development, acquisition of communication skills as well as cognitive and social development. The delay of these aspects may cause a child with hearing loss to be left behind as compared to his or her normal hearing peers. Children with hearing loss are also found to have low self-esteem. Hence, early detection and intervention of hearing loss may be very helpful in minimizing the overall effect of hearing loss in children.


  1. America Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 2000. Principles and Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs.
  2. Madell.J.R , 1998, Behavioral Evaluation og Hearing in Infants and Young Children.


Last Reviewed : 10 October 2016
Writer : Yusni Zariah bt Yusof
Translator : Revathy a/p Sevasankaran
Accreditor : Siti Suriani bt. Che Hussin