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Hearing Impairment

What is a hearing impairment?

A person with a hearing impairment has a full or partial loss of the ability to hear and

discriminate sounds. This is due to an abnormality in the structure and/or functioning of the ear.


A Hearing Impairment is described in terms of the degree of hearing loss (e.g. mild to profound) and the type of hearing loss (e.g. permanent – sensori-neural, not permanent – conductive hearing loss, or a mixed hearing loss which is a combination of both). Hearing Impairment can be caused by the following:

  • Genetic factors (e.g. hearing loss in the family).

  • Infections during pregnancy (e.g. cytomegalovirus, rubella, herpes or syphilis), toxins consumed by the mother during pregnancy or other conditions occurring at the time of birth or shortly thereafter.

  • Premature birth.

  • Childhood infections (e.g. measles, chicken pox).

  • Head trauma after birth.

  • Otitis Media (i.e. middle ear infection) due to nasal congestion.


What are the common characteristics of a hearing impairment?

  • Speech sound system is delayed.

  • Frequent or re-occurring ear infections.

  • A family history of hearing impairment.

  • Difficulties attending and listening.

  • Delayed language skills.

  • Performing poorly at school.

  • Lack of response to loud, sudden noises.

  • Poor coordination.



What are common difficulties often (but not always) experienced by the child with a hearing impairment?

  • ​Language delay/disorder

  • Speech delay/disorder

  • Sensory processing

  • Attention and listening difficulties

  • Behavioral difficulties

  • Gross motor difficulties due to middle ear dysfunction affecting balance

  • Difficulties with reading and spelling

What type of therapy is recommended for children with hearing impairment?


Diagnosis alone is NOT the solution. It simply opens the door to getting the help that is needed by arming all involved with the relevant information. 

​If your child has a hearing impairment, it is recommended that you consult a Speech Language Pathologist  to receive an evaluation to see if they require therapeutic intervention. 

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