Allergy season is here in full force and with it comes sneezing, watery eyes and often itching throat. Aside from these apparent symptoms, allergies can also lead to ear infections in children due to irritation in the Eustachian tube. There are very close ties associated with recurrent ear infections and delays in speech and language development. Children who have suffered from several ear infections may have mild hearing loss making it difficult for them to hear low intensity grammatical markers such as past tense /–ed/ and third person plural /-s/, and high frequency consonant sounds such as /s/. Children learn these grammatical markers, and sound production, first by imitation which is made very difficult if they are having trouble hearing these specific sounds and markers. It is very important to be aware of the status of your child’s hearing, even in the spring and summer, as it could be effecting their speech and language development.
Written by: Stephanie Mathias, Speech-Language Pathologist, The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada