Look Whoooo’s Talking Now!
May is Better Speech and Hearing Month which provides the perfect opportunity for parents to be sure that their child has their hearing tested, either at AppleTree/Gilden Woods (check with your Program Director for when you can expect hearing screening test to be administered) or at your pediatrician’s office.
Paying special attention to what are general developmental milestones for each age will help you to be aware of any potential speech or hearing issues.
Speech can develop in a regular progression for most children with the pace varying from child to child. Most children hear and listen to sounds from birth and learn to talk by imitating the sounds around them and the voices of their parents and caregivers. But that's not true for all children as some are born deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Most children can be expected to say one word at 1 year of age, say three words around 1.5 years, and combining words around 2 years according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). An important distinction to note is that children may say a certain number of words but understand far more.
General concepts regarding when to expect speech include:
- Babies born prematurely may develop speech later but usually catch up by age 2
- Multiples may have a delay due to prematurity or medical intervention
- Kids may try to perfect one skill – such as walking – “at the expense of speaking”
It's important to detect deafness or hearing loss as early as possible. For this reason, universal newborn hearing screening programs currently operate in all U.S. states. As a result, babies almost always have their hearing tested before they even leave the hospital.
Is it important to have my baby's hearing screened early?
The most important time for a child to learn language is in the first 3 years. The earlier you know about a child's hearing loss, the sooner you can make sure your child benefits from strategies that will help him or her learn to successfully communicate.
How can I recognize hearing loss later in childhood?
Even though screening tests are designed to detect hearing loss as early as possible, some children may not develop hearing loss until later in childhood. This means that, even if your baby has passed the hearing screening, you should still continue to make sure that he or she is hearing well.
Your child may have an underlining communication problem if he or she:
- Began talking later than expected
- Is performing below the expectations of the classroom
- Is having difficulty learning to read
- Cannot seem to express his/her thoughts and ideas
- Has problems understanding others and following directions
- Doesn't pick up on social cues
- Says "Huh?" or "What?" and needs things repeated often
- Does not consistently respond to sounds
Tips for protecting your child's ears
- Avoid loud, noisy areas or activities such as lawn mowers, fireworks, loud music (no sounds above 85 decibels)
- Wear earplugs, earmuffs, or other hearing protection devices when involved in a loud activity
- Be alert to hazardous noise in the environment such as sirens and heavy machinery
- Protect the ears of children who are too young to protect their own
For more information regarding speech, including developmental guidelines, visit “Speech and Language Delay in Children” on AAFP.org or download the printable chart, “How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?”, from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).