Language development in hearing-impaired children

The auditory system, as in other sensory modalities, it needs normative sound stimulation input to occur so that the anatomo-functional development of it is carried out correctly. The hearing system is made up of three sets of structures.

That’s why it’s important prevent possible language development problems in girls and boys with hearing lossAs this vital step is essential in the formation of cognitive processes that interact with the use of concepts and abstract words. In this article, we’ll go over several keys to consider in this regard.

    Language development in hearing-impaired children

    Given the presence of a significant hearing impairment during childhood, language ability can be affected very differently depending on the area most affected, being able to differentiate vocabulary, grammar, articulation, fluency, comprehension, pronunciation, etc.

    In addition to the type of affectation the child exhibits, language development is also influenced by the nature and quality of the communication environment around it, so it appears to acquire greater language skills if the mother is a listener in relation to the case where mother and son are deaf.

    More precisely, with regard to how the language development of the deaf child takes place it is observed that, during the first 9 months, these babies present a level of vocalization similar to that of non-deaf children. At that time, differences began to be observed on the quantity and quality of children’s oral production. Indeed, the baby does not receive enough environmental reinforcements to promote the performance of these verbalizations.

    In general, we can say that the development of a deaf child in relation to another who is not deaf takes place according to the same phases in both cases, although in the deaf child it takes place more. slowly. In the field of syntax, many difficulties are observedSo much so that they fail to master complex structures even at age 18 (a milestone that occurs in hearing boys at age 8). Thus, the content of the programs is simpler, with less meaningful content in plurals, prepositions, conjunctions or pronouns, as well as alterations of elements of the sentence such as plurals, verb tenses or gender.

    Pronunciation is intensely changed in relation to intonation, rhythm, tempo, etc., in addition to other serious syntactic distortions. In terms of comprehension, the child should use visual cues to help him understand the stimulation received. They also use lip-to-face reading and other complementary methods that make it easier for them to differentiate lip movements shared by different phonemes or phonemes that do not have visible lip movements.

      Differences in morphosyntactic development

      The research they tried to study the differences that take place between the morphosyntactic development of an auditory child compared to another deaf person show that he is second presents both gaps and delays in grammatical learning and morphosyntax, in particular.

      In more detail, studies have shown that the sentence length is significantly shorter for deaf 17-year-old boys compared to those who manage to build 8-year-old hearing children. Along with this, it was found that deaf boys do not write complex sentences, unlike 11-year-old hearing children, who are beginning to master this ability.

      Outraged, the sentence constructions of hearing-impaired children are not syntactically varied and the use of adjectives, auxiliaries and conjunctions is observed to a lesser degree as opposed to a greater use of nouns and verbs (which can be given more meaning, so that the evocation of the concept is more accessible by representing), articles, pronouns and prepositions are also rare among deaf boys. Thus, the biggest differences between one group and another concern the use of the words “function”.

      Another research group drew three main conclusions in the comparison between hearing and deaf children: for the latter, it is much more complex. applying structures including pronouns, verb conjugation, and long sentence formation; the deaf do not achieve full language development at the age of 18 although the development of language learning is progressively positive through simple sentences (not therefore in complexes); the greatest number of errors is concentrated on the use of function words in the deaf group.

      Finally, at the neurophysiological level, other work aims to analyze the level of specialization in the left hemisphere through the activity recorded by the evoked potentials after the presentation of certain lists of words.

      The result obtained shows a mismatch in the brain area activated during this task between listeners and the deaf: the anterior left brain areas were activated by word function, while the posterior parietal areas, both in the right hemisphere. and on the left, were enabled for words with semantic content. Thus, we can conclude that the capacity of morphosyntactic mastery depends on the modality in which the received linguistic stimulation occurs.

      Guidelines for optimizing oral language learning

      Silvestre (1998) proposed a list of conditions considered to be optimal in order to be able to give oneself an appropriate oral learning of the language.

      1. Family involvement

      A high frequency of exchanges between parents and children is recommended to improve the stimulation received by it, ensuring a higher level of progression.

      2. Early educational care

      In order to achieve the highest possible degree of development attend sensitive periods of myelination and neuronal plasticity.

      3. Correct fitting of the hearing aid

      Indispensable for a correct interaction between the child and the environment.

      4. Early hearing rehabilitation

      essential for compensate as much as possible for the deficiencies presented in each particular case.

      5. Acquisition of lip-face reading

      This becomes a requirement for the comprehension of the oral language received by the present interlocutor.

      6. Communicative and cognitive development

      Since there is a close relationship between organic and psychic development, measures must be taken to prevent the difficulties of the former (hearing impairment) from causing harm to the latter (psychopathology or emotional or cognitive discomfort).

      Bibliographical references:

      • Marchesi, A. (1987). Cognitive and linguistic development of deaf children. Madrid: Publishing Alliance.
      • Peña, J. (1992). Speech therapy manual (3rd ed.). Barcelona: Masson.
      • Puyuelo, M., Rondal, J., Wiig, E. (2002) Evaluation of the language. 1a reprint. Barcelona: Masson.
      • Puyelo, M. (2004) “Handbook for the development of deafness” Barcelona. Masson.
      • Silvestre, N. (1998) Deafness. Communication and learning. Barcelona. Masson.

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