Hearing loss is invisible and therefore historically has not been given the attention needed. If hearing loss is undetected and/or “rehabilitative” efforts are not begun as soon after birth as possible, then a child’s language, emotional and cognitive development will be affected. This will then contribute to later literacy difficulties and other academic difficulties. This is the first article of a two-part series that discusses the importance of early identification of hearing loss and its implications, discussed in the context of human development. In this first article, hearing loss in general will be discussed including the terms “Deaf”, ‘hard of hearing” and “deaf” and how early identification is important for all three groups. Tests that are available for testing the hearing of infants will also be discussed. In Part 2 further discussion of differentiating “deaf” and “hard of hearing” will occur and more information about the relationship between early identification and child development will be presented. This article presents the case that early identification of hearing loss is critical, not just for communication purposes, but for a child to reach their maximum human development and self-actualization.
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