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Hearing Loss


Children with deficits in hearing or deafness demonstrate significant delays in integration, balance, and the ability to carry out complex motor sequences. Occupational therapists are in a unique position to evaluate and treat sensorimotor and sensory integration problems in children with hearing loss. Even subtle motor issues can intensify dysfunction with a child with a hearing impairment. Although the most obvious deficits seen in children with hearing impairment involve language and social development, nonverbal aspects of development need to be evaluated by an occupational therapist and addressed in treatment plans to optimize function.

Interventions for Communicating with children with hearing impairments:

  • Face the child squarely at eye level
  • Check to make sure the auditory equipment is working properly
  • Position yourself so the child can easily see your face and hands at the same time
  • Make sure you have the child’s attention
  • Avoid backlighting. If the child has to look into the light, the child may be unable to see your lips.
  • Use a normal tone of voice. Do not exaggerate mouth movements, because this may confuse the speech reader.
  • Speak in natural but clear speech, no more than 3 feet away from the child’s microphone.
  • Be consistent, especially with a younger child