May is Better Speech and Hearing Month

Susan Cohn & Associates now offering free hearing screens and Aural Habilitation

By Tracy Sexton MA, CCC-SLP, Edited by Rebecca Bishop MS, CCC-SLP May 15, 2017
May is Better Speech and Hearing Month and therapists at Susan Cohn & Associates are focusing on all things related to hearing in the hopes of educating, providing resources, and answering questions about hearing loss and how this impacts the communication skills of children.

Starting with the signs and symptoms of hearing loss in babies and children:

Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of hearing loss are different for each child. If you think that your child might have hearing loss, ask the child’s doctor for a hearing screening as soon as possible. Don’t wait!  Even if a child has passed a hearing screening before, it is important to look out for the following signs.

Signs in Babies
  • Does not startle at loud noises.
  • Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.
  • Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.
  • Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Seems to hear some sounds but not others.
Signs in Children
  • Speech is delayed.
  • Speech is not clear.
  • Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Often says, “Huh?”
  • Turns the TV volume up too high.
Babies and children should reach milestones in how they play, learn, communicate and act. A delay in any of these milestones could be a sign of hearing loss or other developmental problem. Source: Center for Disease for Disease Control and Prevention

What impact can a hearing loss have on a child’s communication skills?  
The term communication encompasses the way we convey ideas and thoughts to others.  There are both nonverbal and verbal components to communication.  Facial expression, gesture, and body language are some nonverbal aspects of communication.  Aspects of verbal communication include articulation (production of speech sounds), expressive language (the language we use to get our ideas across), receptive language (the language we understand), and listening.  

Hearing loss can impact many areas of verbal communication: 

Listening skills are often effected to varying degrees depending on the amount of hearing loss present for each child.  Auditory information can be difficult to understand if you are not able to hear all the sounds in the words or the word endings (plurals, verb tenses, etc), if it is difficult to discriminate (tell the difference between) sounds, or if the words become obscured due to competing background noise. 

A child with a hearing loss may have difficulty hearing certain speech sounds. This can vary based on the type and degree of their loss. For example, a child with a mild, high frequency hearing loss may have trouble hearing soft, high pitch sounds such as 's' and 'th.' As a results, the child may not include these sounds in their own speech, thus impacting the clarity of their spoken messages.  

Voice volume and pitch are a few components of speech that could be affected by a child’s inability to hear themselves talk.  They may subsequently struggle to self-regulate when it comes to these aspects of speech and may, for example speak too loudly or mumble.  

A child with hearing loss may have difficulty with vocabulary development.  They may be slower to acquire new vocabulary, may do better with concrete vocabulary (ball, car) rather than abstract vocabulary (before, after), and may struggle with multiple meaning words.  

Children with hearing loss may have difficulty with expressive grammar. Their sentences may be less complex and they often struggle with word endings such as –ed and –s because these word endings are difficult to hear.  


Early detection and early intervention are key elements to getting a child with hearing loss on the right track to meeting their developmental milestones.  We encourage you to be aware of the signs of hearing loss and discuss your concerns with a medical professional who can assist you in determining if further evaluation is necessary.

Susan Cohn & Associates is now offering free hearing screens and Aural Habilitation for children with hearing impairment and cochlear implants.  

If you would like to learn more about the SUSAN L. COHN & ASSOCIATES TEAM, you can click here.

710 NW Juniper Street Suite 108
Issaquah WA 98027