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Updated on January 26, 2021

Hearing And Speech Development In Children

The first 3-4 years of life is when the child acquires speech and language skills. These skills develop best when the child is exposed to a world rich in sounds (hearing skills), sights and to the speech and language of their parent and caregivers.

What is the difference between voice, speech and language?

1. Voice. This is the sound made from the vibration of the vocal folds when air is pushed from the lungs through the larynx.

2. Speech. Speech is created by talking to express language and requires coordinated muscle actions of the vocal folds, tongue, lips and jaw.  Speech is controlled by the Broca’s and Wernicke’s area on the left side of the brain.

3. Language. Language is how people express themselves through speech.

Click to view HearIt video on Hearing Loss in Babies

Communication Disorder Red Flags

Communication is a process of exchanging verbal or non-verbal information between individuals. It involves the receptive language (ability to understand), expressive language (production of words to convey messages), speech (sound of a spoken language) and pragmatic language (rules in a spoken language).

Every child may not develop these communication skills at the same time or rate as compared to another child. Every child is unique in his/her development. However, when a child does not acquire certain skills at a certain developmental age, this could be a red flag of a communication disorder.

Here are some of the communication disorder red flags to look out for:

Age (months)Red Flag Signs
0-3Does not smile or interact with others Does not show attention to sounds
4-7Does not babble or make sounds
8-11Make few sounds Does not use hand gestures (like lifting hand to be picked up) Does not respond to being called by name Does not understand what you say
12-17Say only limited words Does not follow simple instructions
18-23Say fewer than 20 words Does not combine more than 2 words together
24-35Has trouble playing or talking with other kids Speech is unclear even to familiar people
36-47Unable to ask questions
48-60Unable to tell simple stories Has problem reading or writing simple alphabets or numbers

If you notice any of these signs, get your child evaluated by a Speech-Language Therapist, Developmental Paediatrician or ENT surgeon

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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