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Blog in Your Ear

Hearing Loss and Childhood Literacy

Did you know that there is a direct correlation between listening to speech and reading? Recognizing a sound and connecting it to a specific letter is an early skill in learning to read. For a child with hearing loss, this can be a challenge.

Early identification of hearing loss and early intervention can make a significant difference in a child’s ability to develop listening and language skills. Matching a sound to a letter, (e.g. D in Dog), is an early literacy skill called sound-letter association. Early and consistent exposure to speech sound helps a child’s brain learn to distinguish differences and make associations between letters and the sounds that they make.

Research has shown that a child needs at least five to six years of consistent auditory exposure before the brain is developed enough to make the connection needed between letters and their sounds. Delays in reading occur when a child’s developing brain does not have this consistent and early exposure.

Parents and caregivers of children with hearing loss can help foster the basic listening skills needed for reading by making sure their child’s amplification is worn consistently. Read to your child daily and allow them to see your face and the pictures in the book you have selected. Books that rhyme and repeat are terrific first books for infants and toddlers.

Visit the Kalamazoo Public Library website at for age appropriate book selections.

By Kate Hamann, Senior Audiologist


Posted in: Children, Life Style

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1 Comment

  1. webadmin September 25, 2014

    As a member of the Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo, this issue is near to my heart. Our club’s focus is on the children in our community and improving their lives. The ability to hear is so important to childhood development, and indeed, the success of children as they grow into adults.