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  • Amrik Singh
  • April 17, 2018 09:31:25 AM

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Is hearing loss getting you down? A few simple steps will help protect your Hearing Health and put the fun back in your life. Know more about hearing aid and how hearing can be taken care of.

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Hearing Loss in Children – What Every Parent Should Know

As per the world Health Organisation, 34 million children worldwide suffer from Hearing loss. Though Hearing loss in children is unfortunate, 60% of the cases are curable if diagnosed and treated in time The post Hearing Loss in Children – What Every Parent Should Know appeared first on Ear Health...

As per the fact sheet dated March 2020 released by the World Health Organisation, 34 million children worldwide suffer from Hearing loss. Though Hearing loss in children is unfortunate, 60% of the cases are curable if diagnosed and treated in time. It is the parent’s responsibility to be observant and detect signs of hearing loss in children.  Toddlers cannot express themselves until they are a little older. Parents should note the small tell-tale signs to gauge the overall ear health of the child. In this article, we will offer some tips on detecting hearing loss in babies.

hearing loss in children blog feature image
Image Courtesy: Pxhere.com

As parents, we should be extremely vigilant about our children and detect early signs of hearing loss in toddlers, especially if it is a mild hearing loss in a child. Severe or profound deafness, if any, is easier to identify.

Hearing loss in children is the child’s inability to hear sound spoken in a normal speech range. It is either hereditary or an acquired hearing loss.

How Do I Know If My Baby Has A Hearing Problem?

The signs of hearing loss in children are relatively easier to detect; however; detection of deafness in babies requires keen observation.

The table below indicates the baby’s speech development milestones.

Baby's Age Actions And Activities
3 Months The baby should recognise the parents voice and respond
loud noise should startle the baby.
6 months The baby recognises all the familiar sounds and voices of all the family members
The baby makes sounds in response to the pampering by parents
9 Months The baby understands a few words like yes, no, mummy, daddy
12 Months The baby speaks a few words clearly
18 Months The toddler speaks a few short sentences
The toddler follows simple instructions
24 Months The spoken word count should increase to around 300 words
Should be able to speak clear sentences and converse a little
Should attentively listen to stories being read and listen to songs

The video below is a must-see for parents.

How Do I Know If My Child Has A Hearing Problem?

There are always tell-tale signs that parents can observe and make a mental note of; if these signs are too frequent, it could indicate a hearing loss in a child.

  1. At times the child does not respond when called out. Kids occasionally do ignore if they are too engrossed watching television or playing with their toys. However, if it happens too often, it is an indication of hearing loss in kids.
  2. The child hears you but has a questioning look on his or her face or says – “Did you call me?” Or “what did you say?” This expression conveys that the child has heard but has not understood.
  3. The child tends to lean forward to hear or turns his head to hear with the better ear. This action is similar to how the elders with a hearing loss behave.
  4. If the child looks at you keenly while you are speaking, it is a sign of hearing loss in a child. They are trying to catch the words or lip read.
  5. The child speaks loudly. Since we all hear ourselves when we speak to know how loudly we are talking, due to the deafness in children, they hear themselves faintly and tend to speak loudly.
  6. If they always insist on increasing the television volume, it is a vital sign of hearing loss in children.
  7. If the child is attending school and is not paying attention in the classroom or is falling behind in studies, it is a sign that they cannot hear and understand the teacher.

How Do You Test A Child’s Hearing?

The recommended hearing tests for babies are:

  • Free Field Pediatric Hearing Test
  • Oto Acoustic Emission
  • ABR or Auditory Brain Stem Response

It is compulsory to conduct a newborn hearing screening test for babies in most countries before they leave the hospital premises.

Let us get familiar with the hearing tests for babies.

1. Free Field Pediatric Hearing Test

The free field test is a simple basic hearing test; Tones of different frequencies are presented from a calibrated source of sound held about 9 inches away from the baby’s ear. The audiologist observes the baby’s reaction to determine if the baby can hear.

2. OAE or Otoacoustic Emission Test

The OAE test is to check the functioning of the inner ear. The inner ear responds and emits a faint sound when presented with an external sound. The OAE probe captures the sound produced by the inner ear; this action decides if the baby can hear well. OAE is a newborn hearing screening test and gives a “pass” or “fail” result in under a minute. In case the result is “fail,” the pediatrician will recommend further tests.

3. Auditory Brainstem Response Test

The audiologist conducts the ABR while the baby is asleep. Electrodes are connected to observe the activity in the brain when the sound reaches the inner ear. The test checks the pathways in the brain responsible for hearing.

Hearing Tests For Children

The following are the hearing tests for children.

  • Pure Tone Audiometry

Pure Tone audiometry is a subjective test. The child has to respond or indicate if he or she can hear the tones presented by the audiologist. Based on the child’s response, the audiologist prepares an audiogram, which shows the deafness levels at various frequencies.

  • Tympanometry

The tympanometry test checks the functioning of the middle ear; the test checks the movement of the eardrum. The eardrum movement helps the audiologist diagnose if the child has a hole in the eardrum, or fluid accumulation, or an infection.

Parents should insist on hearing tests for children every six months.

What Can Cause Hearing Loss In A Child?

There are several reasons for hearing loss in infants; some of them are as follows;

  1. Otitis media or Infection and inflammation of the middle ear. Otitis media is widespread and affects 75% of the children by the time they are three years old1.
  1. Hole in the eardrum
  2. Accidental head injury
  3. Ototoxicity or deafness caused by certain medicines
  4. Viral or bacterial meningitis or mumps
  5. Exposure to loud sound

Causes of Genetic Hearing loss Or Hereditary Hearing Loss

  1. Premature birth
  2. Mother suffering from diabetes
  3. Complications during delivery. For example, the lack of oxygen
  4. Alcohol or drug abuse by the mother during pregnancy
  5. Inheriting the hearing loss gene from one of the parents (Autosomal dominant hearing loss)
  6. Down syndrome, Usher syndrome, Crouzon syndrome
  7. Ear deformity (Anotia or Microtia)

Is There A Cure For Deafness In Babies?

It is perhaps an unfortunate moment when the parents detect symptoms of hearing loss in their children. Congenital disabilities or birth defects responsible for hearing loss in babies like Anotia2 (the external part of the ear are missing) and Microtia2 (the external parts of the ear are underdeveloped).

The physical deformity at times causes the ear canal to collapse or close. A collapsed ear canal will not allow the sound waves to reach the inner ear.  In this case, the doctors advise ear reconstruction surgery (Otoplasty) to reconstruct the deformed ear or the collapsed ear canal.  Otitis media or middle ear infection is temporary and is curable with proper treatment.

2 Stage Ear Reconstruction Surgery blog image
2 Stage Ear Reconstruction Surgery. Image Courtesy: semanticsscholar.org

What Is The Hearing Loss Treatment For Children?

Besides the treatments mentioned above, assistive listening devices like hearing aids and Cochlear implants help the child to hear. Depending on the type of hearing loss and the severity of the loss, the audiologist will prescribe a suitable listening device. Read about the functioning of the Cochlear implant. Fitting an implant or a hearing aid will help the child pick up speech and learn to speak. The ability to hear will help the child to attend school and lead a near-normal life.

Audiologists prescribe hearing aids in the case of mild hearing loss in children. Hearing aids help to amplify the sound enabling the child to hear. A speech and language pathologist is required in the initial stages to help the child understand and to speak. Children and babies as young as six months of age have undergone cochlear transplant surgery.

Evie Smith Youngest CI recipient blog image
Evie Smith Youngest Cochlear Implant recipient. Image Courtesy: https://surdifrance.org/

Evie Smith from the United Kingdom and Kadence Lane from Mississippi were around three months old when they underwent cochlear implant surgery.

Babies with hearing aids are not an uncommon sight. Reputed brands manufacture pediatric hearing aids which are tamper-proof, durable, small in size and have an indicator so the parents can see whether the hearing aid is on or off.

Learning Sign language is another option parents should insist on, Sign language helps children with hearing issues to communicate with each other.

How To Prevent Hearing Loss In Toddlers

  • Pediatricians recommend hearing tests every six months
  • Make sure that the child takes all the necessary vaccines
  • Mothers should lead a healthy lifestyle and consume a balanced diet during pregnancy
  • Do not expose the child to loud sounds. Keep the volume of music and television at a low level.
  • Toddlers should wear earplugs or noise-excluding ear muffs while attending a sporting event

Tips For The Parents Of Babies With Hearing Aids.

  • The hearing aids have to be worn consistently for the child’s brain to get accustomed to the sounds.
  • Parents must take efforts to talk to their children, as the brain develops quite fast in an infant, the child will pick up speech much faster as adaptation and development are fast.
  • The parents should ensure that the device fits well, and no feedback sound is heard, or the ear mould does not hurt the child.
  • Speech therapy is necessary as it helps the child immensely.

Though it is challenging for the parents, timely detection of hearing loss in children and speech therapy can make a big difference in the child’s development.

The post Hearing Loss in Children – What Every Parent Should Know appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


How To Cure Hearing Loss In One Ear?

Have you ever wondered why we have two ears? There’s a scientific explanation of having two ears. The brain coordinates the signals received from both the ears to determine the exact location of the sound The post How To Cure Hearing Loss In One Ear? appeared first on Ear Health...

How To Cure Hearing Loss In One Ear? blog feature image

What Is Hearing Loss In One Ear?

Some people suffer from hearing loss in only one ear while the other ear functions normally. This type of hearing loss is known as unilateral hearing loss. The hearing loss can range from mild to severe. It cannot be taken lightly; in most cases, delaying its treatment leads to permanent deafness in one ear. Deafness in one ear is also known as single-sided deafness. Some people are born with unilateral hearing loss, or they develop single sided deafness later in their life.

How Hearing Loss In One Ear Affects Hearing?

Have you ever wondered why we have two ears? There’s a scientific explanation of having two ears. The brain coordinates the signals received from both the ears to determine the exact location of the sound. Hearing with both ears is known as binaural hearing. We can also determine the quality of hearing and the range. People suffering from hearing loss, particularly in one ear, have the following complaints –

  • Unable To Locate The Place From Where The Sound Is Coming

Our brain can determine the direction from which the sound is coming; this is due to a phenomenon known as sound localization. This is only possible when both the ears are functioning properly. Thus, hearing loss in one ear makes it difficult to locate the source or direction of the sound.

Diagram Localisation of sound EarGuru Ear Health blog
Localisation of Sound
  • Difficulty To Hear Sound In A Noisy Environment

The brain can filter the unwanted sound reaching the ear. This ability of the brain is known as selective listening. It is difficult to do so when one of the ears is damaged. In a noisy environment, the person with hearing loss in one ear cannot differentiate between multiple sounds.

  • Unable To Determine The Loudness Of Sound

The sound reaching the brain from both the ears combined is louder than the sound received by the brain from any one of the ears. The sound reaching the brain when heard through both the ears is louder though the source is of the same intensity or loudness. The auditory nerves of both the ears receive sound signals and process the signals into information independently.

  • The Head Shadow Effect

People with hearing loss in one ear are likely to suffer from the ‘head shadow’ effect. If the sound is coming from the side, which is deaf, the person cannot hear until the sound travels across the head and reaches the other ear. The head shadow effect results in loss of high-frequency sound, which makes it more difficult to hear high frequency sounds such as ‘s’, “Sshh or ‘t’.

  • Single Sided Deafness Makes It Hard To Multi-Task

Due to all the above reasons, the brain has to work harder to understand speech and sound signals. It gets difficult to concentrate on other activities or multitask, especially when the environment is noisy. For instance, a simple activity like listening to someone and writing at the same time becomes difficult and stressful.

Causes Of Hearing Loss In One Ear

There are several reasons why people suffer from hearing loss in any one ear. Some of the common reasons for loss of hearing in the ear are-

  • A blow or injury to the ear
  • Continuous exposure to loud noises
  • Taking drugs in excessive amounts or ototoxicity
  • Any blockage in the ear due to an external object or excessive wax buildup
  • Abnormal bone growth inside the ear

Other Health Conditions Which Cause Hearing Loss

Apart from injury to the ear or an ear infection, several other diseases can increase the chances of hearing loss in any one of the ears. In case you are suffering from any one of the following medical conditions, the chances are that it will develop into a hearing loss.

  • Perforation or hole in the eardrum
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Otitis media with effusion
  • Neurofibromatosis type 2
  • Shingles
  • Reye’s syndrome
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Vertebrobasilar insufficiency-

Ototoxic Drugs Responsible For Hearing Loss

There are several medicines prescribed by doctors for serious medical conditions that can cause hearing loss in one or both the ears as a side effect

  • Drugs used for chemotherapy
  • Furosemide which is a type of diuretic
  • Toxicity due to salicylate
  • Antibiotics such as streptomycin and tobramycin

Other Symptoms Of Hearing Loss In One Ear

Hearing loss in one ear is itself a sign of deafness. In addition to this, some other symptoms that a person is likely to experience include-

  • Muffled hearing in the other ear
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • The feeling of some object inside the ear
  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Increasing the audio level of the television or music system

Diagnosis Of Hearing Loss In One Ear

In case you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, consult an ENT specialist. The doctors will take your medical history and prescribe a hearing test. A hearing test generally includes checking the range of sounds and tones at various frequencies; the test will indicate the frequencies and intensity at which you can hear without any problem. Some of the common hearing tests include pure tone audiometry and tuning fork test.

Treatment Of Hearing Loss In One Ear

Based on the underlying cause of the hearing loss, the doctor suggests the appropriate treatment options. In severe cases of hearing loss, it won’t be treatable. For mild to moderate hearing loss, doctors recommend using a hearing aid. A hearing aid is an instrument that amplifies the sound entering the ear. There are several types of hearing aids

  • Contralateral Routing Of Signal (CROS Hearing Aid)

This hearing aid is specially designed for people with hearing loss in one ear. It picks up sound from the deaf ear side and sends it to the functional ear.

  • Bone-Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHA)

This hearing aid is surgically implanted inside the ear. Sometimes it is not possible for the sound vibrations to reach the inner ear due to defect in the outer or the middle ear. The BAHA works by sending vibrations directly to the inner ear through the skull.

  • Cochlear Implants

These also need to be surgically implanted inside the ear; they work by stimulating the auditory nerve to function again. Find out how the Cochlear Implant works.

  • Eardrum Surgery Or Tympanoplasty

Due to repeated ear infections, the eardrum can get damaged, resulting in a hole. Ear perforation is a serious condition that can only be treated with a surgery known as Tympanoplasty. It is a process of patching the hole with tissue taken from the other part of the ear.

Conclusion

Although hearing loss is a common phenomenon, delaying its treatment can lead to permanent deafness. Fortunately, there are several treatment options to try for curing hearing loss in one ear. Consult an ENT specialist who can suggest the appropriate treatment after a thorough diagnosis.

The post How To Cure Hearing Loss In One Ear? appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


What is Vertigo? Know the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Vertigo is a common health issue. It is a spell of dizziness and headache where one also feels that they are in some kind of motion. One of the most important things to understand is that vertigo is not a disease but rather a symptom of other health issues. The post What is Vertigo? Know the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment appeared first on Ear Health...

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you felt lightheaded and dizzy? Disoriented? and the surroundings are spinning? Well, this is what vertigo feels like. It can happen at any age but it mostly affects people aged 65 years and above. Constant dizziness indicates that something is wrong with our bodies. Random dizziness occurs due to common cold, diarrhea, and ear infection, and is curable. But when the bouts are very frequent, do not ignore them and immediately visit an ENT doctor. Let us get familiar with the causes, symptoms and, available vertigo treatments.

What is Vertigo Know the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment blog feature image
Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a common health issue that many people experience. It is a spell of dizziness and headache where one also feels that they are in some kind of motion. One of the most important things to understand is that vertigo is not a disease but rather a symptom of other health issues. Some people may experience dizziness while they look down from a height or due to other ailments. Vertigo is of two types, central and peripheral vertigo.

What Does Vertigo Feel Like?

It is quite challenging to explain what it feels like unless one experiences it. People who experience sudden blurred vision and dizziness also feel they are in motion even if they are not moving or might get a feeling that the surroundings are spinning.

What Are The Vertigo Symptoms?

Vertigo is itself a symptom caused by other diseases or health conditions. It is mostly accompanied by several other symptoms, some of the other symptoms of vertigo are:

  • Waking up dizzy
  • Light headed and dizzy
  • Dizzy and nauseated
  • Motion sickness
  • A feeling of air inside your ears
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
  • Problem in balancing
  • Dizziness and Headache

What Causes Dizziness?

Spinning surroundings due to vertigo blog image
Spinning surroundings due to vertigo_Image Courtesy pxhere.com

Vertigo can be a result of a temporary change in the body or a permanent disease; it can be Central or Peripheral vertigo. Central vertigo is associated with the brain or the central nervous system, while peripheral vertigo is related to the ears; about 93% of the cases are of peripheral vertigo.

Below are some of the other common conditions that can cause dizziness and vomiting.

  • Labyrinthitis

The problem takes place due to an inflammation in the labyrinth of the inner ear due to an infection. The vestibulocochlear nerve endings in this area stimulate the brain cells that lead to random dizziness and other issues, such as pain in the ear or even blurry vision.

  • Vestibular Neuritis

This condition is almost similar to labyrinthitis, but here the vestibular nerve gets inflamed. But in this condition, the person does not face hearing loss, which is an important symptom in the case of labyrinthitis. The symptoms of vestibular neuritis are nausea, blurred vision, and balance problem.

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

BPPV is the most common cause, the problem is caused by the movement of our head. The movement causes the tiny calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear to move around, and the movement causes the crystals to touch the sensory cells in the semi-circular canal which trigger bouts of severe dizziness 1.

  • Dizziness In Early Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the time when women go through several hormonal changes. Pregnancy often leads to a change in the characteristics of the fluid in the inner ear that can lead to dizziness In early pregnancy and related issues.

  • What Are The Other Conditions?

Apart from the conditions mentioned above, many other conditions may cause vertigo, such as head injury, ear surgery, and multiple sclerosis.

What Are The Causes That Can Cause Dizziness?

Apart from some common conditions, certain diseases can cause vertigo. Below are some of the associated diseases.

  • Cholesteatoma

Cholesteatoma is a kind of a skin growth noticed in the middle portion of the ear and is usually non-cancerous. It is due to repeated infections. A cholesteatoma usually grows behind the eardrum and can erode the tissue of the middle ear. The condition can cause issues such as dizziness and hearing loss.

  • Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease 2 is a disorder of the middle ear and can lead to dizziness and vomiting, tinnitus and, hearing loss.

  • Perilymph Fistula

Perilymph Fistula is caused due to a ruptured eardrum or in some cases, a tear in the ligament between the inner ear and middle ear. As a result, the fluid gets displaced which leads to miscommunication with the brain. Perilymphatic fistula can also cause constant dizziness and headache, followed by other symptoms.

  • Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis is the abnormal bone growth in the middle ear; it causes a blockage for which surgery is advised. Otosclerosis causes dizziness and balance issues.

  • Ataxia

Ataxia occurs due to the injury to the muscles, nerves, or directly to the brain, mainly the cerebellum, which is responsible for maintaining balance and coordination in the body.

  • Migraine

Migraine is an intense headache that can cause vertigo at times. There can be several causes of migraine, such as stress and pungent smell. A person suffering from migraine needs to stay away from the things that can trigger the condition.

  • Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma is a benign growth on the vestibulocochlear nerve near the inner ear. Acoustic neuroma can cause dizziness and balance issues.

  • Cardiovascular diseases that are quite common in older people can be one of the reasons.
  • Severe ear infections or problems in the ears are also the reasons that need urgent attention and treatment.
  • Any kind of injury to the head
  • Any type of medication that you are taking such as antipsychotics or antidepressants

How Is Vertigo Diagnosed?

Unless the spell is temporary due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, the following tests help in diagnosing vertigo.

  • The Head Thrust Test

The Head thrust test or the head impulse test is to test the reflex system. The test determines the coordination of the eyes and the inner ear.

  • Romberg Test

The doctor will ask you to close your eyes and stand with your feet together. Your balance is observed.

  • Fukuda-Unterberger Test

The doctor will ask you to close your eyes and walk straight, it diagnoses the side affected by vertigo depending on the drift from the centerline.

  • Dix-Hallpike Test

Standard Dix-Hallpike maneuver_blog Image
Standard Dix-Hallpike maneuver_Courtesy Store medisinske leksikon Creative Commons

In the Dix-Hallpike Test or Dix-Hallpike maneuver, you will be asked to rotate your head to one side at an angle of 45 degrees, and then to the other side, the doctor will observe your eyes to determine if the issue is in the inner ear or the brain. The turning of the head can trigger vertigo.

Diagnosing Vertigo Associated Diseases

Once the diagnosis confirms the presence of vertigo, it is essential to know the cause leading to it.

The doctor will first check the ears to confirm if the problem is ear-related. You have to undergo Pure-tone and impedance audiometry tests.

If it is not an ear-related issue, tests like MRI or CT scans is the next step. In severe cases, neuroimaging techniques also diagnose the nerve-related diseases that may have caused the vertigo-associated illness.

What Are The Vertigo Treatments?

  • Vestibular rehabilitation is a physical therapy for dizziness, it will strengthen the vestibular system to improve balance and reduce dizziness and headaches.
  • If it’s due to pregnancy, your doctor will prescribe drugs such as antihistamines that are mainly for nausea.
  • In a situation of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPVV), the medical expert may ask you to practice an unusual movement Epley repositioning maneuver to clear the canalith particles (otoconia) in the inner ear to prevent dizziness.
  • If the dizziness and headache is due to cold or ear infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics.
  • Prescribing medicines like – antihistamines, Benzodiazepines, and antiemetics.
  • Diuretic medications are an option for Meniere’s disease.

Recommended Vertigo Treatment At Home

Though it is always good to take advice from medical professionals, some alternative vertigo treatment at home can be tried for immediate relief.

  • Making some small changes in your lifestyle, such as making Epley maneuver a part of your exercise routine can be very helpful.
  • Sitting down or lying down with eyes closed during a bout.
  • Bed rest gives relief to people suffering from a stroke.
  • Keep an extra pillow under your head while sleeping.
  • Wake up or stand up slowly to avoid sudden jerk that may trigger sudden dizziness, especially when you wake up in the morning.
  • Indulge in the right kind of food to keep the hormonal changes in control. Include items such as green leafy vegetables, eggs, almonds, salmon, fish, and dark chocolate in your diet which is good for the central nervous system.
  • Acupuncture can also help to cure constant dizziness in some cases.
  • Practice Yoga Asanas, Shunya Mudra benefits people suffering from vertigo

References

  1. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw263714
  2. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

The post What is Vertigo? Know the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


Can A Speech Therapy App Replace Traditional Therapy?

Speech Therapy app like Stamurai can accelerate the progress of clients with varying fluency goals. A smartphone app can make sessions more interactive, engaging, and the user can carry the tools of fluency in their pocket The post Can A Speech Therapy App Replace Traditional Therapy? appeared first on Ear Health...

Pandemic or not, the growing trend of using apps has replaced window shopping with browsing shopping apps. We order daily necessities and groceries via dedicated apps that deliver the selected items to our doorstep. We even have exclusive apps to track our health and weight. So, why shouldn’t a speech therapy app replace traditional speech therapy?

Can A Speech Therapy App Replace Traditional Therapy? Blog feature image

What Challenges Do Speech Therapy Apps Address?

The standard practice so far is that speech therapy for kids or adults who stammer meant booking an appointment with a speech therapist or a speech language pathologist. Visiting them in person and dedicating a couple of hours per week in their clinic undergoing speech therapy exercises under guidance.

Rest of the time, the people who stammer are on their own to practice his or her daily speech therapy exercises. Over time, this causes a lack of motivation leading to a reduction in the daily practise routine. The reduced practice increases the chances of relapse after the person completes his or her speech therapy at the clinic.

Stamurai the speech therapy app blog image
Stamurai the Speech Therapy App

The advent of smartphones is a boon in many ways; one of them is that they support a plethora of useful applications. Stamurai – the stammering app or the stuttering app is one of them. This speech impediment app has made treatment for stammering accessible and affordable to many who cannot travel every week or can’t afford the costly sessions with a speech language pathologist (SLP). Moreover, the speech therapists in remote areas may be situated far away, have too many appointments or are almost non-existent.

The creation of stammering therapy apps have bridged this gap by providing everyone in need, access to speech therapy tools irrespective of their geographic location. Tele Speech therapy does solve some of these issues, but it still requires a speech therapist to connect through the internet and guide the person.

While stuttering apps are incredibly useful, we need to address a critical question before lauding their functions – can these apps replace the traditional speech therapy sessions with the Speech and language therapists?

Why Does The World Need More Speech Therapy Apps?

Currently, speech therapy apps for android and iPhone have taken over the world that fosters a convergence of therapy apps. Most importantly, these apps ensure that people can have 24/7 access to their therapy tools on the go.

Imagine, you are waiting for a conference call to begin. During the wait, you can access the speech exercises to build confidence and make your speech more fluent for the virtual meeting.

As the world is adopting virtual work environments for most sectors, conference calls, video calls, and online presentations are becoming everyday affairs. Those who stutter often find phone and video calls intimidating. Using the app can promote general fluency and easy access to the stuttering exercises. Addressing the feared words the night before the online meeting can make phone calls less of a nightmare for the person.

How Can People Who Stutter Benefit From Using A Stuttering App?

It is an era of tech-savvy children who own iOS devices and android phones. Over 25% of children between the ages of 0 and 2 years and 36% of children between the ages of 3 and 5 years have an iPad. Since 2012, there has been a 170% increase in the number of children using tablets and computers. (Reference: www.teachwire.net)

Stamurai App Fun tools Feature blog image
Stamurai App Fun tools Feature

Children have a keen sense of learning about new technology, and stuttering apps like Stamurai can capture their interest to provide reliable speech therapy. With the help of evolving tech, including machine learning and AI (Artificial intelligence), dedicated speech therapy apps for toddlers or children can precisely deliver what is required to build intrigue and increase interaction.

These days, working adults do not have much time to dedicate themselves towards speech therapy and attend individual or group sessions with a Speech and Language Pathologist. A stuttering app for adults can make treatment for stuttering less intimidating and more accessible for people from all social and financial backgrounds.

Speech therapy apps for android and iOS like Stamurai don’t just offer speech therapy for stammering for the affected children, but also adults with an advanced stuttering problem. Even adults who have struggled with fluency for decades can benefit from the speech therapy exercises, freestyle tools and records of progress that this application stores.

Stastics and assesment tracking feature blog image
Stastics and assesment tracking feature

Apps that offer speech therapy for stammering have their advantages including –

  1. Customization and personalization options (Feared word lists, editable reminders and timers)
  2. Live chat with speech therapy experts
  3. 24/7 support and access
  4. Affordable yet certified speech therapy exercises
  5. Progress meters that keep track of the user’s journey
  6. Customized assessment options

Should You Rely On The App Solely Or Seek The Help Of A Professional?

However, are speech therapy apps enough to reduce stuttering? Can a person forego the option of attending sessions with an SLP as soon as he or she gains access to a similar app?

The answer depends on the individual’s situation –

  1. If the individual resides in an area that does not have easy access to a speech-language pathologist, then he or she may utilize the app until they can access the service of an expert.
  2. If an individual who stutters already attends therapy sessions under the guidance of an SLP, he or she can utilize the app to continue practising at home and during extended periods when the SLP is unavailable.

A comprehensive stuttering app is not just useful for someone who stutters, but also their speech therapist. The therapist can assist the clients by providing visual progress charts, practice sessions for home and personalizable goals on the speech therapy app.

How Can A Speech Therapy App Make The SLP’s Work Easier?

Mobile applications that offer speech therapy hold a world of promise for both the people who stutter and the therapist community. Apps can help professionals achieve their therapeutic goals faster than before. It can bridge the communication gap between the SLP and their client. The SLP can use speech therapy apps as interventional tools, but the typical speech therapy app will not wholly replace the professional.

Speech Therapy apps free to download like Stamurai can accelerate the progress of users with varying fluency goals. A smartphone app can make sessions more interactive, engaging, and the user can carry the tools of fluency their pocket wherever they goes.

The post Can A Speech Therapy App Replace Traditional Therapy? appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


Hearing Aid Repairs? Handy Tips To Fix Them At Home

Any hearing aid problem or breakdown can upset the daily routine of people with high hearing aid usage. What can one do during a prolonged shutdown or a lockdown similar to Caronavirus or the Covid-19 epidemic? You can always learn to attend to hearing aid repairs at home. Check out these handy tips to fix your hearing aids. The post Hearing Aid Repairs? Handy Tips To Fix Them At Home appeared first on Ear Health...

For regular users of Hearing aids, they are an extension of the ears. Hearing aid repairs have to be done on priority as any hearing aid problem or breakdown can upset the daily routine of people with high hearing aid usage. Though authorized service centres are all over, what can one do during a prolonged shutdown? Or a lockdown similar to the one we are facing due to Caronavirus or the Covid-19 epidemic? With no one to attend to the hearing aid repairs, it is better to know a little about hearing aids from a user’s perspective. How they function? The hearing aid problems and, how to fix the hearing aids at home in the absence of professional repair facilities.

Hearing Aid Repairs Handy Tips To Fix Them At Home Blog feature image
Image Credits: airforcemedicine.af.mil

The common problems and the useful tips to handle minor hearing aid repairs at home will come in handy during an emergency. However, repeated instances of hearing aid repairs are avoidable if one takes regular care of the hearing aids at home. Below is a guide to troubleshooting hearing aid problems, let’s find out about the common hearing aid problems and how to fix the hearing aids at home.

Why Can’t I Hear Out Of My Hearing Aids?

A very common problem faced by many hearing aid users, you keep them safe at night, and the next morning they refuse to work.

Are Hearing Aid Repairs Possible At Home If They Are Dead?

You can fix hearing aids at home if the hearing aid is not broken or physically damaged. The first thing we should do is to inspect the hearing aids visually. In case of breakage or cracks in the shell, only an authorized service professional can repair them.

If there are no signs of physical damage, then read further to diagnose the issue. You may be in a position repair your hearing aids at home.

Is The Hearing Aid Battery Door Closed Properly?

Digital hearing aids do not have an On/Off switch; the hearing aid switches off by opening the battery door. If the battery door is not closed properly, then the hearing will not function.

Solution: Close the battery door properly. Your hearing aid may start working again. Since the battery door was not closed properly, the battery was not in contact with the terminals.

  • Is The Battery Door Not Closing?

If the battery door is not closing comfortably, do not use excessive force, it will damage the hearing aid. The reason for the battery door not closing could be that you have not inserted the battery correctly.

Solution: Remove the battery, look for the positive and negative marking on the battery as well as the hearing aid, and reinsert.

Another reason for the battery door not closing could be due to a small particle stuck in the battery door. Examine the battery drawer carefully and remove the dirt particle if any, causing the obstruction.

  • Have You Checked Your Hearing Aid Battery?

When did you last replace your hearing aid battery? Is it overdue? Even if it is not due, at times, the battery consumption increases due to other reasons.

Solution: If you have a battery checker, check the battery. If you do not have a battery checker, insert a new battery to confirm, if the hearing aid still does not work, it’s not a battery issue.

If you are using a rechargeable battery, confirm the charge level with a battery tester. It may be possible that due to some reason, they have not charged. Hearing aid batteries should be handled carefully, read how to care for your hearing aid batteries.

  • Have You Checked The Hearing Aid Listening Program Setting?

Digital hearing aids have multi-listening programs or settings. These settings change by pressing the program button. Unintentionally if the listening program switches from “Speech” to the “Telephone” mode, the microphone will cut off. For the user, the hearing aid will not give out any sound.

Solution: Press the program change button and bring it back to your regular listening program. The hearing aid may start working.

  • Have You Checked The Volume Control Setting?

Though, this is a very simple suggestion as long time users of hearing aids are fully aware of the volume settings.

Solution: Since most of the digital hearing aids have a press type switch or button, it is difficult to know the volume setting by looking at the hearing aid. It is safer to reconfirm by pressing the volume up/down key to ensuring that it’s in the right position.

My Hearing Aids Have Low Output

Your hearing aids are not dead, but your hearing aids are not loud enough to hear well. Check out the causes given below and how to fix your hearing aids.

As in the case of a dead hearing aid, first, you should examine them visually.

  • Check The Ear Moulds And The Tubing

Cleaning a Hearing Aid. blog image
Cleaning a Hearing Aid. Image compiled by EarGuru

In case you are using a BTE (Behind the Ear) or a RIC/RITE (Receiver in Canal) type of hearing aid, observe closely for wax blockage in the ear mould opening.

Solution: If you see signs of wax accumulation in the ear mould, clean the ear mould with a cleaning tool for Hearing aids, or if the dome has a wax guard, replace the wax guard.

Check for breakage in the silicone tubing if there are no signs of wax blockage in the BTE.

Solution: In case of breakage, replace the silicone tubing. BTE users should always keep spare tubing at home; it is part of the hearing aid repair kit.

For the In ITE type of hearing aids (ITC, CIC, IIC) Check the wax guard. At times, it is difficult to see the wax, as a precaution, replace the wax guard with a new one. Your hearing aid may start performing as before.

  • Check The Volume Control Setting

As mentioned above, check the press type volume control, take it to the minimum volume setting position and bring it back to the maximum position. This is possible for BTE’s and some RIC’s which have a volume button.

Check if the remote control is functioning if you are using a remote control with your hearing aids. Maybe the remote control needs a change of battery.

  • Check The Program Button Setting

Check the program setting by pressing the button and trying out other memory settings. The setting may have shifted to another program, which is compressing the sound.

  • Have Your Ears Checked For Wax

It is easy to blame the hearing device, but it is advisable to check if earwax is blocking your ear canal.

Solution: Keep your ears clean, check out these home ear cleaning tips.

Why Are My Hearing Aids Whistling?

You must be wondering, “What causes a hearing aid to squeal?”

Hearing aid whistling or hearing aid squealing is technically known as Hearing Aid Feedback or Acoustic feedback.

The features in the latest digital hearing aids have an anti-feedback feature; the hearing aid automatically detects the feedback and suppresses it or reduces it.

If your hearing aid still emits feedback, check how to stop the hearing aid squealing.

What Causes The Hearing Aid To Squeal?

The hearing aids amplify the sound picked up by the microphone; this amplified sound reaches our ear canal. If this sound leaks out of our ear, it may be picked up by the same microphone and amplified again by the hearing aid, this forms a loop which we hear as hearing aid feedback.

  • How Do I Stop My Hearing Aid From Whistling Or How Do You Fix Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are multiple reasons which cause a hearing aid to squeal. Let’s look at some of them.

  • You Have Not Worn Your Hearing Aids Properly

Whether it’s a BTE, a RIC or a CIC, any style or type of hearing aid has to fit well into the ears. If the ear mould or the CIC fits loosely, the sound will leak out and result in whistling or squealing due to hearing aid feedback.

Solution: Push the ear moulds or the ITC/CIC hearing aid into the ear canal. At times, we need to twist the hearing aid a little or pull the earlobes a little to make room for the hearing aids to get into the right fit and position.

Watch this informative video to understand better.Coutesy: Beltone (Please click on CC to enable captions)

  • Some of you must be wondering, “How far into the ear canal should a hearing aid go?”

The ear mould or the shell is as per the size and shape of the ear canal, insert till the fitting is tight but comfortable.

  • Another Question Generally Asked Is “Why Won’t My Hearing Aid Stay In My Ear?

There could be more than one reason for this:

  • The ear mould does not fit well; it may be slightly bigger; in this case, make a new mould.
  • In the case of BTE or RIC, the tube is either long or short.

Are the Ear Moulds Hurting You?

Solution: The ear mould or the dome has to be the right size and comfortable, if it’s an ITE type, the hearing aid has to be inserted into the ear canal properly. If the ear moulds or the ITC/CIC is slightly big and hurts the ear, the user will not insert it properly which will cause hearing aid feedback,

  • Is The Hearing Aid Volume Set Too High?

If the volume setting has been unknowingly disturbed, the high volume will cause hearing aid whistling.

Solution: Gradually reduce the volume to the point where the feedback stops. Check if you can hear properly at this volume setting.

Earwax accumulation can also cause hearing aid feedback as the sound bounces out without reaching the eardrum.

Solution: Clean your ears regularly, check out these home ear cleaning tips

Why Does My Hearing Aid Keep Turning Off And On?

You put on your hearing aids; they work fine for some time, and they suddenly cut out. Do you wonder why my Hearing Aid keeps cutting out? The reason could be water or moisture.

  • Are Your Hearing Aids Exposed To Sweat And Moisture?

Electronics and moisture do not get along; water can spoil a hearing aid unless your hearing aid is water-resistant. This can happen if the humidity levels are high; you were caught in the rain or forget to take off your hearing aids before a shower.

Solution: Use a stay dry box or an electric dehumidifier. Leave the hearing aid in the chamber for a few hours, do not forget to remove the battery and leave the battery compartment open. It is very important to keep hearing aids dry. Use hearing aid sweat covers if you sweat a lot. To know more, read our blog on protecting your hearing aids from rain and water. Using a good dehumidifier will reduce hearing aid repairs.

  • Have You Checked The Batteries?

Most people do not associate intermittent hearing aids with batteries. A hearing aid with a weak dying battery will function for some time and shut off. If the same cell is removed and reinserted after a few minutes, it will work for a short while.

Solution: replace the old battery with a new one. Always keep adequate stock of batteries. If you use rechargeable batteries, confirm that the batteries are sufficiently charged.

  • Why Is My Hearing Aid Distorted?

My hearing aids sound muffled, or my hearing aids sound funny or distorted are common hearing aid complaints. Hearing aid voice distortion can be a muffled sound or a crackling sound.

Solution: Check battery terminals for rust or dirt accumulation. You will notice two shiny strips inside the battery compartment; these are the positive and negative terminals which carry the current from the battery to the circuit. If any of them is rusted or has dust coating, it will not send the current efficiently giving rise to distortion. Take a cotton bud or a Q tip and clean the battery terminals.

Low batteries are also one of the reasons; please refer to the procedure given above for checking batteries.

Moisture in a hearing aid can cause distortion; humidity interferes with the working of the electronic circuit and can distort the speech.

  • How Do You Fix A Muffled Hearing Aid?

In case of muffled sound, check for dirt or earwax blocking the outlet of the ear mould or change the wax guard and test again.

In the case of BTE, check the tubing, dirt or moisture beads in the tube can cause a muffled sound.

Cleaning Kit for Hearing aids blog image
Cleaning Kit for Hearing aids. Image compiled by EarGuru

With hearing aid usage of 8 to 10 hours a day, hearing aid problems are unavoidable. Cleaning a hearing aid every night before you retire can reduce hearing aid repairs to a large extent. Use hearing aid disinfectant wipes to clean the outer shell of the hearing aid before you retire for the night. If possible, keep a cleaning kit for hearing aids at home. Check out the cleaning tools for hearing aids which are available with most hearing aid dispensers.

Author Bio
Amrik singh aroraAmrik Singh Arora  is the founder of EarGuru – the Ear Health Blog.  An Engineer by qualification, he has over 20 years of experience in the field of Hearing loss and manufacturing and sale of Hearing aids, Audiometers and Assistive listening devices. He was the Secretary of the Hearing Association of India from 2013 to 2017 and was last Associated with Starkey India as a Director-Business Development.

The post Hearing Aid Repairs? Handy Tips To Fix Them At Home appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


Speech Therapy Exercises For Children with Down Syndrome

Children with Down syndrome often have difficulties with their speech, language and communication skills, hence speech therapy for Down syndrome and it plays an important role in the child’s speech and language development. The post Speech Therapy Exercises For Children with Down Syndrome appeared first on Ear Health...

Yaashna Rajani Haryani

Our body is an amazing machine as it performs various complex functions with relative ease and also adheres to a biological pattern. Our physical and behavioral traits depend on our parents as we inherit their genes. Chromosomes are molecules which contain the genes that we inherit. Every human being has 46 chromosomes, at times, due to some abnormality or genetic disorder some babies are born with an extra chromosome. Babies born with an extra chromosome suffer from Down syndrome or Trisomy 21. Speech therapy for Down syndrome is highly recommended as the children have communication issues which can be successfully addressed by a Speech therapist.

Down syndrome blog feature image

What is Down Syndrome?

Downs Syndrome is a genetic disorder. It is commonly known as Trisomy 21. Down syndrome is due to a genetic condition in which there is an extra copy of a specific chromosome 21.

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Down Syndrome?

The symptoms of a Down syndrome baby include developmental and intellectual disabilities. The range is from mild to severe and the profile varies with each individual.

Children with Down syndrome can be easily identified due to their distinct facial features. The following features are common indicators but everyone may not necessarily have the same features or symptoms as there are different levels of severity of Down syndrome.

  • Short neck
  • High arched palate
  • Protruding tongue
  • Small head
  • Upward slanting eyelids (palpebral fissures)
  • Unusually shaped or small ears
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Short hands, normally broad with only one crease in the palm
  • Excessive flexibility
  • Brushfield’s Spots. These are very tiny white spots found on the iris of the eye
  • Short height

At times, children with Down syndrome also suffer from the following conditions:

  • Heart defects
  • Intestinal problems
  • Vision and hearing problems
  • Thyroid problems

How Can A Speech Therapist Help A Child With Down Syndrome?

A speech language pathologist carries out an assessment to help identify the areas in which the child is facing difficulty. These include receptive language skills, expressive language skills, play skills, social skills, semantics, syntax, articulation skills, oral motor planning and Oro-motor strengthening skills.

Based on the evaluation, the Speech Therapist will make a treatment plan to target the areas wherever the child is facing difficulties. This is generally done in the form of one on one therapy or group therapy sessions.

What Is Early Intervention?

Down syndrome is a developmental disorder. The initial years of the child’s life are very crucial for development. Any remedy provided during the initial years helps the child to bridge the gaps in the developmental delay. Children with Down syndrome experience delays in various areas and hence early intervention is highly recommended.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy exercises for children are the common treatments for Down syndrome.

What is Speech, Language and Communication?

Understanding the difference in speech, language and communication is an important factor. Many times these terms are interchangeably used. Communication, by definition, is the process in which there is an exchange of information. It can be by way of speaking, writing or using some other medium. In simple words, it is the exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Language is basically a commonly used and accepted method or system of communication between human beings. It can be either spoken or written and mainly consists of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. Speech is considered as the vocalized form of communication (i.e. spoken words).

Thus it is very important to remember that the goal is not always speech but mainly communication. The speech therapist ensures that people with Down syndrome communicate effectively.

Down Syndrom Baby blog image
Speech Therapy session in progress for a Down Syndrome Baby

Why Do We Need Speech Therapy for Down Syndrome?

Children with Down syndrome often have difficulties with their speech, language and communication skills. It is noticed that some children with Down syndrome start gesturing and using signs to communicate before they learn to use speech. This is basically the development of non-verbal skills before the use of verbal skills for communication. They also face some difficulty with speech clarity and overall speech. Language skills in children with Down syndrome are often delayed, and hence there is a need for speech therapy for Down syndrome and it plays an important role in the child’s speech and language development.

How Does Down Syndrome Affect Speech Production And Language Skills?

Children with Down syndrome also suffer from the following disabilities which affect speech production and language development

  • Cognitive development or the ability of the child to think and react to situations
  • Hearing loss
  • Decreased muscle tone, strength and coordination in mouth and throat

How Do You Teach A Down Syndrome Child To Talk?

There are many pre- requites and pre-linguistic skills which are to be achieved and worked on before the child can learn to speak.

The following skills are desirable to obtain good results in Speech therapy for Down syndrome.

  • Means to end (the ability to achieve an object/ goal by some means)
  • Attending (eg turns head in response to a sound in the environment)
  • Imitation of vocal behaviour (repeating sounds and words eg gaga, mama, bye)
  • Use of object (uses the spoon for eating / stirring)
  • Object permanence (The ability to understand that even though an object is not present and cannot be felt or heard, but it still exists)
  • Visual attention (look at the speaker, look at objects)
  • Auditory skills (listening to language, music, etc. for increasingly longer times)
  • Cognitive skills (understanding cause and effect relationships, object permanence)
  • Social skills (turn-taking, such as peek-a-boo or rolling a ball back and forth)
  • Play skills (playing meaningfully with toys)
Down syndrome blog image
Activity for Down Syndrome Child

What Is A Total Communication Approach?

In speech therapy for Down syndrome, many a time speech therapists follow the total communication approach, which means a combination of verbal and non-verbal means to help the child improve his or her communication skills. These include speech, sign language, gestures, pictures and / or communication aids.

As mentioned earlier, children with Down syndrome often develop non- verbal communication before verbal communication, thus a total communication approach helps even more.

How Do You Teach A Down Syndrome Child To Communicate?

Use of basic Makaton signs including signs for more, finished, give me, and help. It is observed that using sign language with speech shows an increase in understanding and also offers the child an additional method for expression. Remember to pair the sign with verbal expression of objects, people and actions.

Provide your child with additional visual input by pointing to objects and/or pictures that you are describing as you speak.

Will Using A Total Communication Approach Delay My Child’s Speech Development?

Many studies have been commissioned to get a better understanding of this issue has shown that a total communication approach does not slow down speech development. In fact, most of the studies showed that a total communication approach increased speech production.

Basic Tips For Total Communication Approach

Provide a speech and language enriching and stimulating environment to your child. There are many activities in day to day routine that can be opportunities for you to provide speech and language skills to your child. Bath time can be used for labeling various objects like

  • Water
  • Shampoo
  • Bucket
  • Labeling actions like washing
  • Pouring
  • You can even add adjectives and get bath books
  • You can also use the time for brushing, changing clothes and eating meals etc
  • Play interactive games like peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake and bubbles.
  • Comment on sounds in your environment (e.g., doorbell, ice clinking in a glass, dog barking, etc.) to increase your child’s auditory awareness
  • Model speech for your child in every situation e.g. if the child brings a glass/ bottle of water to you, you can make the child tap your hand and you can model (emphasise lip movement) “Mumma water” for your child.
  • Follow your child’s lead. When the child picks up a toy, as a parent you should also engage in the same toy and provide modelling and language input and play along with the child.
  • Expand on your childs utterances eg. if the child says “give me the ball” you can expand by saying “give me the red ball.”
  • Respond positively to all attempts at communication (“Oh you signed more! More what? Do you want to play the ball more? Once the child begins to attempt to say or sign the words you are modelling for him / her, you must praise them for their efforts, eg. “Oh that’s good”

Does Singing Help In Speech Therapy For Down Syndrome?

Singing is another good opportunity to improve the Childs speech and language skills. You can encourage the child to fill in words, gestures and sound effects.

Remember to be face to face with the child and use facial expressions to engage the child better. Also singing slowly and pausing allows your child to really hear the words and fill in. Also, use actions and gestures.

You can also make up songs for your daily routine.

Speech Therapy blog image
Parents involvement with Down Syndrome Child

How Does Play Help The Child With Down Syndrome?

Play is a great opportunity to promote speech and language skills. Engage the child in anticipatory games like ready, set and go. Using functional objects within play also helps.

Pretend play can be used to expand your Childs speech and language skills. Toys which can be used for the same include:

  • Dolls with accessories
  • Kitchen/ cooking items/ foods
  • Workbench/ tool kit
  • School bus and other vehicles
  • Farmhouse with animals
  • Dollhouse or garage
  • House cleaning set
  • Toy telephone
  • Doctor kit

Play can also help to promote motor and verbal imitation and encourage command following and social skills like taking turns.

How Do Books Help The Child With Down Syndrome?

Reading word and wordless books help improve the Childs speech and language skills. The idea is not just to read the story but to engage the child, try and use books with more pictures and less text. Act out the characters in the story by animating or changing your voice, hand movements and facial expressions. This will keep the child engrossed and attentive and increase his interest in the storybook.

Ensure that your child is pro-active and interacts by identifying pictures. Encourage your child to choose the storybook he likes, let him or her remove the book from the shelf, go to the right page and turn the pages as the story progresses. When the child repeatedly picks up the book he likes and is familiar with the story, you should pause mid-sentence while story-telling and encourage him/her to finish the sentence. The child can finish the sentence on his/her own using a mix of gestures, words and sounds

Hygiene for children with Down syndrome blog image
Oral hygiene lesson for Down Syndrome Child

Other Related Recommended Speech Therapy Exercise For Down Syndrome

  • Take pictures of your Child’s items and things they see in their environment, encourage them to point to those items.
  • The pictures can be of their preferred food, a favourite toy or other items in their surroundings
  • Point to the pictures as you talk about or show the objects to help build your child’s understanding of symbols. When you are talking about an object make sure you point to it if in a book and/ or show the real object to help the child associate the word to the object.
  • Show two pictures to give a choice between activities (“Do you want to play ball or play with your toy cars?”)
  • Make a book of pictures of daily activities and objects that your child can use to make choices or talk about the day
  • Make a visual schedule for everyday routines (e.g. wake-up, use the bathroom, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, playtime)

Speech Therapy For Down Syndrome To Improve Muscular Strength

Children with Down syndrome often exhibit low muscle tone and hence Speech Language Pathologists suggest Oro-motor Exercises for the same. Especially the tongue movements, many a time the movements are sluggish and thus the speech shows imprecise pronunciations. The tongue of children with Down syndrome appears thick and slightly larger in size and many a time tongue thrust (see footnote for details) is observed.

The following activities help to develop tongue strength and mobility.

  • Encourage your child to lick food substances from a spoon
  • Offer them lollipops and encourage the child to lick it.
  • Place food on the child’s lips and encourage him/her to lick the food.
  • Encourage the child to blow hard, for e.g. difficult-to-blow whistles, party horns and continuous blowing, e.g. bubbles.
  • Straw-drinking with long, thin straws and thickened liquids, for e.g. juices, smoothies, milkshakes.
  • Put small pieces of easy to melt jelly sweets in the child’s mouth, push the sweets towards the cheeks.
  • Pull faces in the mirror – encourage your child to copy you or make them move their tongue up and down and side to side.

How Does Articulation As Speech Therapy Exercise Help Children With Down Syndrome?

In children with Down syndrome articulation or clarity of speech is often affected. The Speech Therapist carries out a detailed articulation assessment to find out the error in sounds, the types of errors and the position of the sound in error. Based on the evaluation results, the pathologist starts the therapy. Sounds are initially targeted in the isolation level followed by syllables, words and then phrases, sentences and regular conversation.

Below Are Some Tips To Work On Articulation

  • Make sure your child can see your mouth when you speak; the child needs to understand the placement in order to produce the correct sound.
  • Model clear articulation: When modelling speech for a child with downs syndrome we need to remember to articulate each sound correctly and slowly.
  • Using a mirror in the therapy session will greatly help the child with articulation. By looking into the mirror, the child notices the exact position of the tongue, lips, and teeth. The child makes use of the mirror to observe the mouth and repeats the exercise until he can produce the correct sound and words.
  • You can help the child by providing auditory, visual and tactile cues for the same.

You can also play games like:

  • Rolling the dice and saying the target words that many numbers of times.
  • Draw small squares on a piece of paper and colour them or cross them out after you have mentioned the word.
  • Take turns blowing bubbles. Have your child say one of their words before their turn to blow the bubbles.
  • Treasure hunt using the target words
  • Fishing game with target word sounds.

Speech Therapy for Down Syndrome is a highly recommended approach to improve the communication skills of the child. Parents are advised to approach a Speech Language Pathologist for a proper evaluation and assessment.

Important Information for Parents:

Parents seeking consultation and advise can contact Ms. Yaashna Rajani Haryani by mentioning your contact details here or in the comments section below for a free consultation.

Note:

Tongue thrust (also called “reverse” or “immature” swallow is the common name given to oro-facial muscular imbalance, a human behavioural pattern in which the tongue protrudes through the anterior incisors during swallowing, speech and while the tongue is at rest.

References:

About the Author
Yaashna Rajani Speech Language PathologistYaashna Rajani Haryani is an Audiologist & Speech Language Pathologist holding a Bachelors & Masters Degree from the National Institute of Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai. Her research has been published in the International Journal of Science & Applied Research, Global Journal of Otolaryngology, and Asian Academic Research Journal. She has also presented her research at various conferences like the International Developmental Paediatrics Association (IDPA) Congress, Indian Speech & Hearing Association Conference, and the PHONO-Con. She is currently attached to Godrej Memorial Hospital, Vikhroli, Dr. Indu Khosla’s Newborn & Child Care Centre, Little Joys Paediatric Rehabilitation Centre, Andheri West ,  and  Dr. Deshpande’s Clinic, Kharghar.

The post Speech Therapy Exercises For Children with Down Syndrome appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


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