Thanks to dramatic advances in neonatal screening and related devices including diagnostic equipment, digital hearing aids and cochlear implants, today in theory the environment is in place for early discovery, diagnosis and educational intervention of hearing impairments in children. However, huge differences exist between areas of Japan as to the actual establishment of such systems. While in some areas systems for medical check-up, diagnosis and educational intervention are almost complete, they remain incomplete in other areas. Moreover, as most parents of hearing-impaired children are able to use spoken language only, the issue of such children's exposure to sign language is significant. Also, higher brain function is another issue of importance for evaluating language in hearing-impaired children. More speech language pathologists who can deal with these issues are needed.
2014 The Japan Society of Logopedics and Phoniatrics