Hearing and speech together forms almost 40% of all disabilities in children, early diagnosis is the key for habilitating these children.
1-5:1000 children are born with some degree of hearing loss. 5-10% of pre-schoolers have speech problems. Hearing is critical for learning speech, language and communication. Apart from hearing loss, other causes of speech delay include learning disabilities, structural abnormalities like cleft palate, autism spectrum disorders, expressive speech delay to name a few.Early diagnosis for disabilities means diagnosis at birth or below three years.If the diagnosis is delayed,i.e. after 6-8 years,it is difficult to mainstream.
Below is the age appropriate hearing and speech chart from birth to 5 years.
I must mention that if a child achieves about 70 % of these milestones, it is satisfactory. If any concerns, child should be assessed by a doctor immediately. Hearing screening should be done in all babies at birth. Hearing loss can be confirmed as early as 3 months of age and habilitation should be started as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed.