Speech language delay? Two ears are better than one


Hearing loss can delay speech and language development, as well as progress in academic skills.

But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, health and education professionals often overlook the effect that hearing loss in a single ear- or unilateral loss – can have on a child’s language skills.

Kids with hearing loss in one ear only may not be fitted with hearing aids or receive accommodations for disability.

A recent study suggests that children with unilateral loss should be eligible for the same accommodations as children with hearing loss in both ears- or bilateral loss.

The study compared a group of 74 six to twelve year olds with unilateral hearing loss to their siblings with normal hearing. The kids with unilateral hearing loss scored significantly worse in oral language skills than their brothers and sisters.

The conclusion? Researchers suggest that more study is needed to determine the following:

  • what interventions might lessen the effects of unilateral hearing loss
  • when the onset of speech-language delays occurs
  • how unilateral hearing loss affects speech-language development.

Concerns about hearing loss? Here’s our list of local professionals who can help.


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