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Hearing, Speech Problems Need Early Attention

Experts say waiting for children to outgrow disorders is not the best policy

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- If you suspect your child may have hearing or speech problems, it's important to get a professional assessment as soon as possible.

So say audiologists and speech-language pathologists at the University of Arkansas Speech and Hearing Clinic.

"It's tempting to say 'He'll outgrow it' when a child seems to be slow to develop speech and language skills, but problems with hearing or speech and language development can create barriers to social interaction and emotional well-being at a very young age and make it difficult for a child to progress in school. Early intervention is important," clinic director Larry Aslin says in a news release.

Parents should arrange for an evaluation if they suspect their child is having difficulty hearing clearly and consistently understanding what the parents are saying. If a child has difficulty in pre-school or kindergarten with following instructions or taking part in activities with other children, that may be an indication the child has hearing or speech and language problems.

About 83 out of every 1,000 children in the United States have an educationally significant hearing loss. If children with these problems don't receive adequate treatment and preventative services, they're at risk for a lifetime of educational, social and emotional handicap, experts say.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about hearing, language and speech problems in children.

SOURCE: University of Arkansas, news release, July 2003
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