Hearing and speech impairments can affect anyone, both children and adults. There are many causes for these impairments, whether it's physical, developmental, or from an illness, and there are many ways to treat them. When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice and then he or she has a speech disorder. Difficulties pronouncing sounds, or articulation disorders, and stuttering are examples of speech disorders. When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder. A stroke can result in aphasia, or a language disorder. Recent research indicates that children identified with a hearing loss who begin services early may be able to develop language (spoken and/or signed) on a par with their hearing peers. If a hearing loss is detected in your child, early family-centered intervention is recommended to promote language (speech and/or signed depending on family choices) and cognitive development. An audiologist, as part of an interdisciplinary team of professionals, will evaluate your child and suggest the most appropriate audiologist intervention program. Many different treatments help hearing problems. Hearing aids and cochlear implants amplify sounds for better hearing. Other techniques, such as lip reading, can help you learn to adapt to hearing impairment.
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