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Auditory Verbal Therapy

Therapy that facilitates optimal acquisition of spoken language through listening by people/children that are deaf or hard of hearing. Parents and caregivers are active participants in this therapy by providing guidance, coaching, and demonstration.

What is Auditory Verbal Therapy?

Auditory Verbal Training is a specialized therapy approach that focuses on the child working through hearing. The main focus of this therapy approach is to target the parts of the brain used for listening. By doing so, the child can learn to use their hearing devices and listen to spoken language as opposed to just relying on visual cues. A speech-language pathologist will then provide parents and caregivers with tools needed
to further develop their child’s listening and spoken language skills. Therapy can be play-based to encourage young children’s participation.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Hearing Loss?

While the exact cause for deafness isn’t always known, there are still some possibilities such as:

  • Genetics that are passed down
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Certain medications taken while pregnant
  • Children born with cleft lips or palates (or a combination of both)
  • Injuries before, during, or after delivery
  • Scarring
  • Defects of any kind to the eardrum

In addition, there are a few syndromes that may be related to hearing loss and hearing impairment in children. A few examples include:

  • Down’s Syndrome
  • CHARGE Syndrome
  • Stickler’s Syndrome
  • Alport Syndrome

Some of the symptoms that can be seen in newborns for hearing loss include:

  • Sudden, loud noises don’t upset them
  • They don’t recognize the voices of their parents by 3 months of age
  • They don’t turn their head to sounds by 6 months of age
  • They don’t imitate or mimic sounds and simple words by 12 months of age

Some of the symptoms that can be seen in toddlers and children include:

  • Demonstrating delays in language skills
  • Demonstrating abnormal sounding speech
  • Requires and insists on listening to TV or music at high volume levels
  • They don’t listen during conversations
  • Lack of responding when people call their names
  • Difficulty with conversing and hearing with background noise present

How does Auditory Verbal Therapy work? What are the goals?

The main goal of auditory verbal training is to assist the child in recognizing speech and interpreting their sound experiences and the electrical signals they are receiving from their hearing devices. While individual children are different and learn differently, most training programs will incorporate focus on these types of areas: phoneme-based, word-based, sentence-based, and cognitive skill-based.

These skills tend to build upon each other, typically starting with sound awareness (determining when sounds are present and when they’re not) and moving to sound discrimination (determining if two sounds are the same or different). From there, they move on to identification (the children label words that are spoken to them such as “show me cat”) and finally on to comprehension (understanding spoken sentences and conversations).

How does Auditory Verbal Therapy Differ from Other Therapy Approaches?

There are a few ways that Auditory Verbal Training can differ from regular speech therapy. This type of therapy approach requires a certified Auditory-Verbal therapist that has completed at least three years of post-graduate training and mentoring or an individual who is in the process of being mentored. This approach relies on sharpening
listening skills as opposed to utilizing visual cues.

Also, parents and caregivers are taught and encouraged to participate in therapy sessions in order to continue with carry-over strategies from sessions to home life and everyday play activities with peers.

What can Affect Prognosis of Auditory Verbal Therapy?

While this therapy is often intensive and produces great results for children that have hearing impairments, there are some factors that may (or may not) affect prognosis.

Some of these include:

  • Age of diagnosis
  • Causes and degree of hearing loss
  • Hearing aid and assistive technology effectiveness
  • Health of the child
  • Level of parent and caregiver participation / involvement
  • Learning style of the child

How Can I Support My Loved Ones?

If you’re still unsure about the information provided, here is a list of resources that may help clarify or if you’re just interested in learning more!

Parents – Hearing Loss Association of America

Resources | Parent’s Guide to Hearing Loss | CDC

AG Bell

BEGINNINGS for Parents

Hearing First

References

Boston, H. L. (n.d.). What Causes Deafness at Birth? Hearing Loss Boston: Improve Your Hearing. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://www.hearinglossboston.org/privacy-policy/

MNGA. (2021). Auditory Verbal Therapy. Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://ngha.med.sa/english/medicalcities/alriyadh/cip/pages/auditoryverbaltherapy.aspx

Tye-Murray, N. (2020). Auditory-Only Speech Perception and Auditory Training. In Foundations of Aural Rehabilitation (pp. 99–119). essay, Plural Publishing.

Verbal, A. (2019, March 20). What is Auditory Verbal Training? Auditory Verbal UK. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://www.avuk.org/what-is-auditory-verbal-therapy#:~:text=Auditory%20Verbal%20therapy%20%28AVT%29%20is%20the%20approach%20that,than%20relying%20solely%20or%20partly%20on%20visual%20cues