According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 0.2 to 0.3 percent of all children born in the United States are born with detectable hearing loss in one or both ears. Additionally, 90 percent of these children are born to parents with healthy hearing.
Although rare, hearing loss in newborn children can be difficult to encounter as a parent. Many parents whose babies have hearing loss are unsure about where to turn. How can you help your child who has hearing loss grow up? Where do you start? Although there is much to learn about parenting a child with hearing loss, you are not alone. There are several resources available to help you make informed decisions about your child’s hearing loss.
Potential Impact of Hearing in Development:
Long-term, thoughtful parenting is commonly concerned with building a child’s confidence and independence. As a child becomes more independent, their self-esteem and sense of self-worth takes off.
The first 12 months of a baby’s life is important in developing the child. During this time, the child develops a strong sense of trust and mistrust in people and the environment. Consistency in the world prevents children from seeing the world as dangerous and unreliable.
Hearing loss in children can lead to a perceived inconsistency in the world. As a result, these children may struggle trusting others, learning routines, and being social. If your child has hearing aids or implants, it is important to understand your child’s listening bubble and respond to it consistently.
Tips and Suggestions:
Speech and language acquisition is a key way of measuring a child’s development. However, communication in families with hearing loss can be difficult. Here are some practical suggestions for families with hearing loss.
- Engage in conversations with the child and have conversations around the child. Children naturally learn communication skills by hearing others speak and through trial and error. Speaking around the child and to the child will encourage speech and language acquisition and development.
- Commentate and describe everyday objects and activities. If you are searching for food in the kitchen, then narrate: “Hmmm… I can’t seem to find the butter. Is it under the cheese? … No it’s not there… Maybe it’s in the refrigerator door? Ah, yes! There it is!” Although it may seem odd at first, internal dialogue is very beneficial to the child. Remember, the idea is to increase the exposure of the child to language.
- Give the child time to hear, process, and respond to questions you and others ask. Instead of immediately repeating questions or asking new questions to the child, give them about 10 seconds to interpret what you are asking. It may seem like forever, but it will improve your child’s communication and trust.
- Promote direct communication with the child. Family and friends tend to talk to children indirectly by speaking to the caregiver. Encourage others to ask your child questions by saying “[He/She] loves to converse.”
Daniel Shaw is a senior health advisor at a senior housing community. Daniel, regularly helps senior citizens find answers to their health and hearing questions. As well as to their friends and families. Daniel enjoys, the community atmosphere and loves taking walks in the evenings with some of its seniors.