Hearing Impairment and Language Development

1082 Words5 Pages
Recent changes in treatment of pre-lingual deafness and technological advancements have impacted linguistic outcomes for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (Figueras et al., 2007; Papsin & Gordon, 2007). Most children who are identified early, amplified by one year-of-age, and receive quality Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) intervention services can achieve levels comparable to peers in regard to language ability and cognitive function (Figueras et al., 2007; Papsin & Gordon, 2007). While current LSL programs promote spoken language development and higher cognitive function, critical aspects influence performance levels. Specific factors most responsible for accelerating or impeding language development and future cognitive capability are:

• Newborn hearing screenings and early amplification (Moog & Geers, 2010)
• Daily use of hearing aids or cochlear implants (Moog & Geers, 2010)
• Ongoing advancements in hearing technology (Moog & Geers, 2010)
• Effective coaching and language strategies (Moog & Geers, 2010)
• Parent involvement, maternal sensitivity, and quality of linguistic interactions (Gilkerson & Richards, 2008; Weir et al., 2007; Quittner et al., 2013; Zimmerman et al. 2009)

The greatest influential factor affecting spoken language outcomes in any early intervention program is early amplification and immediate and ongoing linguistic stimulation for children who are deaf or heard-of-hearing (Papsin & Gordon, 2007; Moog & Geers, 2010; Zimmerman et al., 2009). Early amplification and linguistic stimulation, such as continuous language input and output, takes advantage of neuroplasticity within the auditory cortex region of the brain (Fallon, Irvin, & Shepard, 2008; Peterson, Miyomato, & Pisoni, 2010). The later a child with deafness is amplified the more unused portions of the auditory system are re-organized and occupied by other sensory information (Peterson et al., 2010). As unused portions of the auditory cortex are occupied by other sensory systems, the ability to decipher transmitted sound diminishes (Fallon et al., 2008; Peterson et al., 2010). As a child matures organization of neurons within the auditory system become more permanent and progressively difficult to rework (Fallon et al., 2008; Peterson et al., 2010). This phenomenon also occurs in regard to factors such as maternal sensitivity and cognitive stimulation (Knudsen, 2004).
Maternal sensitivity refers to a mother’s ability to perceive their infant’s behavioral cues and respond promptly and appropriately (Knudsen, 2004; Quittner, 2013). A caregiver’s ability to respond positively to behavioral signals is essential for language acquisition and cognitive development (Knudsen, 2004; Quittner et al., 2013), especially for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (DesJardin & Eisenberg, 2007; Quittner et al.
Open Document