Is Oral Communication an Effective Approach for Hearing Impaired Children with Cochlear Implant?

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Michael is a 2 year, 6 month old boy. He was born healthy and full term. Following failure of his newborn hearing screening, Michael was identified with a bilateral severe sensorineural hearing loss. At 3 months of age he was fit with hearing aids and began a home intervention program. He received a cochlear implant at 18 months and continues to wear a hearing aid on his contralateral ear. Michael has met all motor milestones expected of children his age. He is using single word utterances and has a vocabulary of 30 words. His parents feel that he is intelligible about 50% of the time. My concern for Michael is what educational and/ or aural rehabilitative approaches might help him achieve the most progress with his current amplification. In hearing impaired children with cochlear implants is oral-communication an effective approach for facilitating language?
Oral-communication is used by people with normal hearing, as well as some hearing impaired individuals. A child with a hearing impairment speaks their messages and will use auditory information and speechreading to receive a message. Oral communication is a multisensory approach since it uses both auditory (hearing) and visual cues. While children are learning to talk they will rely on their residual hearing, speechreading, and sometimes touch. According to Tye-Murray (2009) children in oral educational programs are more likely to achieve better speech intelligibility than children in total communication programs. Tye-Murray (2009) also states that several studies have shown children who use a cochlear implant and are in an oral-communication program develop better speech and language skills, as well as better speech perception than children who communicate with sign.

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Tye-Murray, N. (2009). Infants and Toddlers who Have Hearing Loss. Foundations of aural rehabilitation: Children, adults, and their family members (). Clifton Park, NY: Cenage
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