Expert Advice

Baby speech development linked to hearing

Positive new research into speech & hearing proves reassuring for parents of children with profound hearing loss.

Baby talk is motivated by babies' ability to hear their own babbling.
In new research, it has been revealed that cooing and babbling in babies is linked to their hearing ability.
Assistant Professor, Mary Fagan from the University of Missouri undertook a study to investigate the relationship between hearing and speech development in babies. Her study followed 27 hearing babies and 16 babies with profound hearing loss who were candidates for receiving cochlear implants.
Fagan's study found that the babies with profound hearing loss made significantly less cooing or babbling vocalisations than the full-hearing babies.
However, once they received a cochlear implant, the vocalisations of the babies with profound hearing loss increased. These vocalisations increased within four months of receiving their cochlear impant to be at the same levels as the full-hearing babies.
There was also no significant difference in the amount of vocalisations between the two groups of babies once the babies with hearing loss had received their cochlear implants.
These findings support the importance of early hearing screenings and early cochlear implantation, with Fagan noting that, "Hearing is a critical aspect of infants' motivation to make early sounds."
This is reassuring news for parents of children with profound hearing loss and candidates for a cochlear impant, as there is no evidence that their speech development will be permanently affected by their hearing loss.
Loud Shirt Day
Friday October 17th is Loud Shirt Day.
The day raises funds for The Shepherd Centre, a NSW-based charity helping deaf and hearing-impaired children learn to hear and speak.
Swap your business shirt or school uniforms on Loud Shirt Day, wear your most flambouyant and outlandish outfits and make a donation to the cause.