Introducing Young Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to Spoken Language

The journey of introducing spoken language to young children who are deaf or hard of hearing is a remarkable and often inspiring one. While there are various communication options available, including sign language and cochlear implants, the focus of this blog is on the introduction of spoken language. This process, known as auditory-verbal therapy, empowers children with the skills to listen, understand, and use spoken language effectively.

Understanding Auditory-Verbal Therapy:

Auditory-verbal therapy (AVT) is a systematic approach that aims to help children with hearing loss develop spoken language skills equivalent to their hearing peers. This approach is rooted in the belief that children with hearing loss can learn to listen and talk through the use of amplification, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Key Principles of Auditory-Verbal Therapy:

Early Intervention:

The sooner a child with hearing loss receives intervention, the better their outcomes. AVT often begins in infancy or early childhood to capitalize on the brain's natural plasticity during these critical periods.

Amplification Technology:

Hearing aids and cochlear implants are the primary tools used in AVT. These devices amplify sound, allowing children to access auditory information.

Auditory Skill Development:

AVT focuses on developing a child's auditory skills. This involves helping them recognize and distinguish sounds, including speech sounds, environmental noises, and their own vocalizations.

Listening and Spoken Language:

The ultimate goal of AVT is to enable children to understand spoken language and communicate effectively. This is achieved through consistent exposure to spoken language in natural contexts.

Steps in Introducing Spoken Language to Children with Hearing Loss:


An initial assessment is conducted to determine the child's level of hearing loss, their residual hearing, and their specific needs. This assessment guides the development of an individualized intervention plan.

Amplification Fitting:

If appropriate, the child is fitted with hearing aids or cochlear implants. These devices amplify sounds and make spoken language accessible.

Auditory Training:

Auditory-verbal therapists work with children to develop their auditory skills. This includes teaching them to detect and identify different sounds, including speech sounds.

Language Exposure:

Consistent exposure to spoken language is critical. Parents, caregivers, and therapists engage in conversations with the child, using spoken language as the primary mode of communication.

Auditory-Verbal Therapy Sessions:

Children attend regular AVT sessions, where they work with trained professionals. These sessions focus on building listening skills and language development.

Parental Involvement:

Parents are integral to the success of AVT. They participate in therapy sessions, learn strategies for facilitating language development, and provide a rich spoken language environment at home.

Language Development:

Over time, children progress in their language development. They learn to understand and use spoken language, from recognizing simple words to engaging in complex conversations.

Benefits of Auditory-Verbal Therapy:

Auditory-verbal therapy offers numerous advantages for children who are deaf or hard of hearing:

Language Parity:

Children with hearing loss can achieve language skills on par with their hearing peers, promoting inclusivity and reducing communication barriers.

Improved Educational Outcomes:

Strong spoken language skills facilitate success in educational settings, as children can access curriculum content and engage with teachers and peers.

Social and Emotional Development:

Effective communication fosters social connections and emotional well-being. Children can form friendships and build self-confidence.


By learning spoken language, children gain independence in communication, reducing reliance on alternative communication methods.

Expanded Opportunities:

Spoken language proficiency opens doors to a wider range of career and life opportunities.

Challenges and Considerations:

While auditory-verbal therapy is highly effective, it's essential to acknowledge the challenges children and families may face:

Consistency: Successful AVT requires consistent practice and engagement. Parents and caregivers must provide a rich spoken language environment.

Financial Considerations: Hearing aids and cochlear implants can be costly. Access to necessary technology and therapy services may vary based on financial resources and healthcare coverage.

Emotional Support: Families may experience emotional challenges related to their child's hearing loss. Access to support networks and counseling can be invaluable.

Introducing young children who are deaf or hard of hearing to spoken language through auditory-verbal therapy is a transformative process. It equips these children with the skills to listen, understand, and use spoken language effectively. While challenges exist, the benefits of AVT, including language parity, improved educational outcomes, and enhanced social and emotional development, make it a powerful and empowering approach. Through early intervention and consistent support, children with hearing loss can embark on a journey of spoken language proficiency, enabling them to thrive in a hearing world. For more information visit or call us on 96 5839 5839.