We’ve seen a lot of confusion over what the term “access” means. Just because a DHH child wears their devices consistently, or goes to audiology appointments regularly, or has an audiogram that demonstrates that they can hear all the speech sounds DOES NOT mean they have full access. Full access means that in everyday life, that child is able to take in (input) and make sense of (uptake) EVERY SINGLE language stimulus. A DHH child can wear their devices all day, every day and still:
– mishear parts of words or entire words
– struggle in background noise or with multiple speakers
– struggle without visual cues
– be unable to make sense of the input their brain is receiving (via a CI)
– struggle to discern word boundaries
This is what we mean by “full access.” All of the above can and do happen all the time even if the DHH child has “access” on their audiogram and never takes their devices off.
Image description: Happy Better Language and Communication Month! Remember, a DHH child can wear their hearing devices all day, every day and still not have full access to oral language. Access does not simply mean that their devices are on and working. Nor does it mean that they can hear all the speech sounds. Full access means that they are able to take in and make sense of every single part of the language stimulus at all times.