As a speech and language pathologist I know of the importance hearing is to speech and language development.  As a mom of a child with a profound hearing loss I experience daily how the ability to hear, or not, impacts the child, the parents, the siblings, friends, relatives, teachers...

Henry was diagnosed with a severe-profound, bilateral, sensorineural hearing loss 3 days after his third birthday.  Up until about his second birthday his speech and language was developing quite normally.  In fact, Henry started to speak at 8 1/2 months of age!  After he turned 2, questions about his articulation, intelligibility, and ability to hear arose.  Noone thought, however, that this bright little boy had such a significant loss of hearing.

Bilateral hearing aids were fitted to his little ears about a month after diagnosis.  We would have gotten him aids that very day if we could have, but it takes time to create molds of the ears, order the aids, etc.  Our insurance did not cover Henry's aids, so we paid thousands of dollars out of our own pocket to pay for Henry's ability to hear.  According to our insurance company, hearing aids are a "luxury" item.  Who knew that  being able to communicate or hear the phone, fire alarm, trucks and cars passing, the tv, etc. were "luxuries," for without these little electronic devices Henry could do few if any of these things.

Henry is now 6 years old and is loving kindergarten.  He wears a personal FM system at school so that he can better hear his teacher's voice.  Henry has blossomed into a social boy as he has made many friends at school.  Cars, dinosaurs, and the presidents (he can tell you all 44) are his favorites.  There is no doubt in my mind that Henry would be a much different child without his "aids."  As far as I am concerned, the ability to hear is not a "luxury."