When a person speaks, clues are gained not only from what is heard but also from what is seen. These clues complement and supplement each other, helping us to follow a conversation.
For people with hearing loss the visual clues of speech become very important. Simple actions on your part, as the hearing person, may determine the ease with which these visual clues can be followed.
Hearing loss affects the communication
Children begin to learn how to communicate from the moment they are born. They listen and very soon they are able to recognise their mother’s and father’s voices. Children begin talking by imitating the sounds that they hear.
Communication, however, is more than spoken language. We communicate by gestures, facial expressions and other kinds of body language. These ways of communicating are very important, and in many situations we pay more attention to this kind of communication than to spoken words.
Children who are suffering from hearing loss have difficulties learning how to communicate because they cannot hear all the sounds around them or even their own voice. Therefore their basic development of language will often be delayed. But children with mild to severe hearing loss almost always develop a language that can be understood. Research has shown that even children with profound hearing loss can learn how to speak. The sooner they are diagnosed and treated, the better. Without hearing assistance it can be extremely difficult for children who are born with severe hearing impairment to learn how to read, write and speak.