Auditory Verbal Therapy
Auditory Verbal Therapy, Young Deaf People, and Deaf Education
Many, many deaf people have had some level of hearing loss since they were very young; however, relatively few in the deaf community are “profoundly” or totally deaf. Partial deafness is something that young people can adapt to by using their residual hearing, so it’s possible that they will never be fully deaf. Auditory verbal therapy is one way of helping deaf young people prepare so that they are able to listen and speak in a way that will make it easy to communicate with hearing people. That may make it possible for them to go to public school and enjoy many other opportunities.
What the Deaf Community Should Know on Auditory Verbal Therapy
If you enter a room full of deaf people, you will find a continuum of deafness. In deaf culture, we embrace this and help people find ways to communicate that work well for them. For children, this means encouraging them to learn how to use whatever hearing they have in the listening process. Auditory Verbal Therapy or just AVT is a “blended” process that has two halves: The first is training by trained therapists, certified in young deaf education, which allows youths to focus on and interpret sound cues. The second is a hearing amplification device, such as those used by many in the deaf community.
How AVT Works in Youth Deaf Education
AVT is based on the theory that a young brain can quickly and easy adapt to what it is trained for early on. Thus, even a small amount of hearing can be amplified using devices like a cochlear implant, preventing total deafness. The cochlear implant, which is well known in deaf culture generally, is placed deep into the structure of the inner ear, which is known as the cochlea. Running on a high powered battery, it supplements the child’s existing hearing abilities and make it easier for them to learn to listen. Listening skills are then taught by instructors, often in the presence of other young children.
Auditory Verbal Therapy and Deaf Culture Worldwide
AVT is in wide use not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom. In both countries, it is becoming more integrated into the early public school experience for young children who were born with some level of hearing difference. It is still early in the process, but it is hoped by many worldwide that this will give children the ability to communicate better with the world of those who can hear. That can help for progressing to high school or college, and anything else that they might dream of!
Auditory verbal therapy isn’t the answer to all hearing loss issues for young people, but it is definitely a step in the right direction! It can help hearing families connect and communicate better with their partially hearing children, and open plenty of doors of opportunity for young people. Hopefully, it will continue to be developed and we will see new and even better methods of therapy for young folks in time!
Would you like to learn more about AVT and other therapies? Visit the links below.
- AVT at the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf
- AVT at the UNC School of Medicine
- Training the Ear to Listen – AVT Info at Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center
- Philosophy of Auditory-Verbal Therapy Presentation at GSU
- Guide for Families of Infants and Children With Hearing Loss at Health Vermont