Speech Therapy for the Hearing Impaired
Hearing is conversely associated with speech in that initial communication and hence understanding, arises primarily from learning spoken language through listening and building up symbolic thinking processes. This is why speech therapy is a must for people with hearing impairment.
Developing Auditory Awareness
Auditory awareness is the ability to be conscious of the fact that sound is present. During this period, the child is to learn to wear appropriate amplification. Therapy involves playing with toys that make sounds and listening to music.
Developing Auditory Attention or Listening
Auditory attention is the ability to give some real notice or interest to the sound that is heard.
The clinician focuses the child’s attention to the sound by saying two or three times: “Listen, I hear something. What is that?” The clinician pats his ears, but does not show the source of the sound until the child is listening. The clinician rewards the child’s attention by showing the source of the sound.
Developing Auditory Localization and Distance Hearing
Auditory localization is the ability to recognize the direction from which the sound is coming from. Distance hearing, on the other hand, is the ability to hear the sound even from afar.
The therapist shows the child how to respond whenever he hears a sound. Some of the activities are opening the door when someone knocks, dancing to music, clapping to music, building blocks when a sound is heard, marching to a drum and picking the phone up when it rings.
Developing Vocal Play
Vocal play is the ability to use the speech structures to produce various sounds that are not necessarily meaningful but are sound productions nonetheless. This stage requires making lots of sounds when playing with toys, especially animal and vehicle noises: growl for the teddy bear, meow for the cat, or click tongue for the horse.
Developing Auditory Discrimination
Auditory discrimination is the ability to identify one sound from another. Activities include reviewing vowel sounds and varying pitch, loudness and rhythm: oo— vs. oo-oo. For example, the therapist can build a train with blocks and say oo-oo or oo—, as the train is being pushed on the table. For older infants, they can look at books, making similar sounds for the pictures.
Developing Auditory Discrimination and Short-Term Memory
Activities include teaching discrimination of noise makers in audition and incorporation of phonemes into words in use.
Developing Auditory Processing
Auditory processing is the ability to associate sounds with memories of past events. Activities include naming of abstract ideas like sadness and joy. The therapist also starts to teach the child to call the names of the people that he has constant contact with.
Developing Auditory Processing of Patterns and Auditory Memory Span
Activities for the child’s audition include testing the child’s recognition of words and testing of auditory memory span. Auditory memory span is the ability of the child to remember in sequence the things that he has heard. An example would be the sequence of the instructions that the therapist gave to him.
Developing Auditory Figure-Ground Discrimination
Auditory figure-ground discrimination is the ability to choose among the sounds that are present in the environment and to focus on that one sound alone without being distracted by the rest of the surrounding sounds.
Activities for the child’s auditory skills include clapping or dancing to different rhythms, learning to count from one to ten, saying the alphabets, days of the week, nursery rhymes, holiday songs, prayers, his own address or telephone number, and also remembering two or three directions at a time.
Auditory tracking is the act of listening closely to a material to be able to follow what is being stated in the said material. Auditory tracking using a tape recorder is included in the activities. Also included are reading aloud, practicing using the telephone, listening for information and using internal repetition.