American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
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Support Services for Children

Being able to hear all speech sounds is important for the development of speech, language, communication skills, and learning. The longer a child has an undiagnosed hearing loss, the more serious the effects on the child's development. Similarly, the earlier the hearing loss is identified and intervention begun, the easier it is for your child to develop speech and language.

Studies have shown that children identified at birth with hearing loss who begin receiving these services before they are 6 months old often develop language (spoken or signed) on a par with their hearing peers.

Hearing rehabilitation is the process of providing training and treatment to hearing impaired persons to improve their hearing. This process (also known as auditory or audiologic rehab) can include the use of hearing aids, assistive technology, and other strategies to help overcome hearing impairment.

With infants and children, these services are sometimes called “habilitative” rather than “rehabilitative” because the skill being developed may not be there in the first place.

Hearing habilitation services for children focus on:

  • Adjusting to hearing loss
  • Making the best use of hearing aids and cochlear implants
  • Exploring hearing assistive technology systems that might help
  • Learning to identify and distinguish sounds
  • Enjoying the sounds of life

To learn more about these services, please visit our Hearing Rehabilitation page.

What is early intervention?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that ensures that children who have hearing loss receive free, appropriate early intervention programs from birth to age 3 and throughout the school years (ages 3–21).

Early intervention services are designed to:

  • Help your child stay on schedule with his or her speech, language, and communication skills
  • Enhance your understanding of your child’s hearing loss and special communication needs
  • Support your family in a way that helps you feel confident in raising your child with hearing loss
  • Keep track of your child's progress and help you to make decisions for intervention and education each step of the way as your child develops

Learn more about Early Hearing Detection & Intervention.

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