Speech is a priceless gift. Especially when it has to be acquired through intensive speech therapy, language lessons and hours of pronunciation practice. Babies with a hearing impairment aren’t able to absorb and replicate the speech heard in their environment, as their hearing peers do. Help is needed, but the huge effort is rewarded with every milestone like the first clearly-pronounced word, the first short sentence and the first question.
Hearing And Speech Are Linked
The priceless gift of speech was given to me in the 1970s by a wonderful teacher named Constance Devine, whose methods were ahead of her time. With just 7 per cent of residual hearing to work with in my case, her perseverance has to be admired. To help a child produce the clearest possible speech, hearing-aids were the basis of her teaching program. If a child’s residual hearing is maximised with suitable hearing-aids or other amplification, greater speech quality is achieved and other peoples’ speech is easier to understand, especially for a lip-reader.
Quality of Life
As the years passed and personal milestones were achieved, my gratitude to this teacher grew, because she worked with my parents from the very beginning to give the gift of speech. Without this intervention, I would not have such a good quality of life, or have had so much fun along the way! Life’s for living, and this gift of speech serves every minute of every day from buying a bus ticket, to shouting at my recalcitrant dog in the park.
What price can you put on that?