Know Your Options:
Early Intervention and Treatment Services Across the Lifespan
Addressing hearing loss isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Options exist across the lifespan:
Infants and Toddlers: The earlier that hearing loss is identified, and intervention
begins, the greater the chances that children will develop language and meet other
developmental milestones as expected. Intervention may include a combination of
approaches. These include hearing amplification, such as hearing aids and cochlear
implants (children can receive hearing aids at 4 weeks and cochlear implants at 12
months), use of signed language (such as American Sign Language), and other
communication modalities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures
that U.S. children who are eligible receive the services they need, from birth through age 21.
Older Children and Adolescents: Under IDEA, local school districts provide
education services designed to meet the individual needs of students with hearing
loss who qualify. If a child with hearing loss is found eligible for services, an
individualized education program (IEP) may specify intervention from audiologists,
speech-language pathologists, and teachers of the deaf or hard of hearing to
facilitate school success. A classroom can be fitted with certain technologies to further
assist a child. Treatment may also occur outside of school.
Adults: A variety of options are available for adults. Hearing aids come in different styles and off er a range of features that allow people to make product choices based on their own comfort, preferences, and specific hearing difficulties. They are suitable for people with mild to profound hearing loss. Cochlear implants are surgically implanted devices in the inner ear, suitable for some adults with severe hearing loss. Assistive listening devices (e.g., hearing loops, directional microphones, captioning, etc.) can help people hear in loud places or in problematic listening situations (e.g., talking on
the phone). Audiologic/aural rehabilitation helps people live with their hearing loss
and includes using techniques that help them listen better, using visual clues (e.g.,
speech reading), and counseling people on their legal rights.
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