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Pediatric Audiology

Any degree of hearing loss in infancy and childhood can have a developmental impact—particularly on child language. Early identification of hearing loss in infants is essential to initiating timely intervention and reducing its impact on speech and language development. Exposure to consistent, meaningful sounds during the first few years of life is required for auditory neural pathways in the brain to develop. Consider that infants with significant hearing loss have already failed to perceive about 20 weeks of auditory input in utero— input that contributes to the development of the auditory pathways before birth. Once born, auditory input remains unavailable until hearing loss is diagnosed and intervention is implemented. Those neural pathways that are not stimulated are pruned (reduced in number), and the neural branches ...

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