Infants who get hearing-intervention by six months old have better results, according to multiple researchers. Dedicated audiologists aim for a one-three-six model of good practice:
- screening by one month old
- hearing-aid/s by three months, and
- spoken language intervention by six months
Infants’ consistent use of hearing-devices from their first months of life is vital for their auditory brain to learn sounds not heard before birth. Early detection of deafness gives the child a solid start in life to begin preschool the spoken-language level of their hearing peers.
Worryingly, Ireland’s only audiology course is at risk of being withdrawn:
Steady hearing-device wearing from early infancy underpins this approach, with audiologists noting the crucial role of early hearing-device use and verbal teaching,
There may be no other example in healthcare in which an emergency is identified but proactive, early treatment is not aggressively pursued.
Parents who audio-describe everything they see and do with their child in LSL (listening and spoken language) teaching – and who read books aloud together – can boost the child’s word-learning in the critical language-gaining phase from 6 months, until preschool begins.
This is why it makes sense to retain Ireland’s only audiology training course – so the students can move into their areas of interest and – if they wish – be part of the families’ early-learning journey towards sound and inclusion through multi disciplinary hearing and speech services.
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