Issues to Consider Regarding Use of FM Systems With Infants With Hearing Loss A review of amplification options for infants with hearing loss is an important topic to address due to the increasing presence of universal newborn hearing programs. Today’s technology allows the audiologist to choose from many options regarding amplification for an infant with hearing impairment including the use of smaller, ... Article
Article  |   April 01, 2002
Issues to Consider Regarding Use of FM Systems With Infants With Hearing Loss
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Linda M. Thibodeau
    Advanced Hearing Research Center Callier Center for Communication Disorders University of Texas at Dallas
  • Erin Schafer
    Advanced Hearing Research Center Callier Center for Communication Disorders University of Texas at Dallas
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Articles
Article   |   April 01, 2002
Issues to Consider Regarding Use of FM Systems With Infants With Hearing Loss
SIG 9 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood, April 2002, Vol. 12, 18-21. doi:10.1044/hhdc12.1.18
SIG 9 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood, April 2002, Vol. 12, 18-21. doi:10.1044/hhdc12.1.18
A review of amplification options for infants with hearing loss is an important topic to address due to the increasing presence of universal newborn hearing programs. Today’s technology allows the audiologist to choose from many options regarding amplification for an infant with hearing impairment including the use of smaller, more acceptable FM systems. Use of FM systems allows for increased audibility, which may enable an infant to learn language not only directly from a parent/caregiver, but also incidentally by overhearing language from surrounding sources such as conversations with siblings.
The presence of auditory input from birth is important for the neurological development of the auditory system and its ability to process complex sounds. Early input to the auditory system is especially important because many studies have supported the notion of “sensitive” or “critical” learning periods in auditory development (Ruben, 1997; Ruben & Schwartz, 1999; Sininger, Doyle, & Moore, 1999). Studies have shown that even before birth and during the first few months of life, normal-hearing infants can discriminate speech sounds (Aslin, Pisoni, & Jusczyk, 1983; Bates, O’Connell, & Shore, 1987; Dickinson & McCabe, 1991). The ability to make fine auditory discriminations would be diminished in the presence of hearing loss that reduces the audibility of speech. Therefore, audiologists working with infants with hearing loss must provide the most appropriate amplification to allow for optimal audibility of speech in all environments. Ideally, this amplification would be combined with intensive auditory therapy so that the infant may possibly reach performance levels of their normal-hearing peers who have had the chance to hear even before birth. Many infants who receive intervention and amplification before 6 months of age develop the same speech and language patterns as normal-hearing infants, but some still exhibit slight speech and language delays (Oller & Eilers, 1988; Robinshaw, 1995; Robinshaw, 1996; Yoshinaga-Itano & Apuzzo, 1998a,b; Yoshinaga-Itano & Sedey, 1998). Later identified children with hearing losses that are mild to moderate in nature are at risk for significant language and learning problems (Carney & Moeller, 1998; Davis, Elfenbein, Schum, & Bentler, 1986). Most audiologists know the importance of early identification and amplification, but are they providing the maximally optimal acoustic signal to support normal speech and language development for infants?
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