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Tips For Parents of Children With Hearing Loss

hearing-loss-children-610x250Hearing loss at any age can be problematic, but for a child born with hearing loss the problems are compounded. The inability to hear can cause many developmental delays, including the ability to communicate. This delay can cause its own list of difficulties, such as poor academic achievement, poor self-esteem, and may factor into career choices.

Specifically, these things are impacted due to the following:

VOCABULARY

Children with hearing loss experience slower vocabulary development. They often experience difficulty with abstract words such as before and after, function words such as the and are, and multi-meaning words such as bank (a place for money or the edge of a stream).

SENTENCE STRUCTURE

Children with hearing loss typically understand and use shorter sentences. They have trouble speaking and understanding longer, more complex sentences. Many also cannot hear words ending in s or ed, which leads to grammatical difficulties.

SPEECH

Since many kids with hearing loss do not hear certain sounds, those sounds do not become part of their vocabularies, making words that include those sounds hard to recognize. In addition, since many of them cannot hear their own voices they may not be aware that they are speaking too loudly, too softly, or are mumbling.

SCHOOL

Non-hearing students experience an increased number of challenges in school, specifically in the areas of reading and mathematical concepts. It’s not unusual for them to be performing at substantially lower grade levels than their hearing peers.

SOCIAL FUNCTIONING

Many non-hearing children report feelings of isolation and of not having friends, due to a hearing loss related inability to socialize. (www.asha.org/public/hearing/disorders/effects.htm)

There are things that we can do for our children to lessen the effect that their hearing loss has on their lives, the first of which is to recognize the signs and then get help. The signs may range from an infant that does not startle at the sound of an unexpected noise, to an older infant who does not respond to familiar voices or react when spoken to, to toddlers that don’t use single words by 15 months and simple two word sentences by the age of 2, or a school aged child that falls behind his/her classmates academically.

If you notice any of these, a trip to the doctor for testing should be scheduled. Once this has occurred, there are 4 things a parent can do:

  1. Understand that a hearing aid will not restore the child’s hearing, but it will improve the quality of the child’s life.
  2. Get involved. Ask questions. Speak with your child’s doctors, teachers, audiologists, and any other professional involved with your child regarding your child’s development and quality of life.
  3. Love, accept, and encourage your child.
  4. Smile at him/her often. We all love a smile, but it can be even more meaningful to a child with hearing loss. (http://www.oticon.com)

Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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