Literacy 4-6

Factor Connections

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We learn to understand spoken language through what we hear—how it is constructed and how it creates meaning. Students with hearing loss often have difficulty developing oral language skills and therefore need support in learning to read and write without these building blocks.

Main Ideas

Hearing is measured as the ability to hear sounds in the typical human range of approximately 20 - 20,000 Hz. Hearing loss impacts reading and writing in multiple ways:

  • Hearing loss typically impacts high frequency speech sounds (e.g., /sh/, /s/, /f/, /th/) more than other frequencies.
  • Even mild-to-moderate hearing loss can impact oral language development because children receive degraded auditory language input resulting in distortion of speech sounds. The more severe the hearing loss, the more likely a child will have language development difficulties.

Early detection of hearing loss is essential for students to receive the necessary supports that allow them to achieve the same language and cognitive milestones as their peers with typical hearing. However, mild-to-moderate hearing loss is often not identified until a student is four to five years of age, and hearing aids and cochlear implants do not always completely restore hearing.

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