If your baby has not responded to their names or any triggering noises by the time they’re a certain age, your child could be suffering from a hearing impairment.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. K 26 Nov 2021.
5 Ways to Help Your Child With Hearing Loss
Growing children have a unique set of challenges due to hearing loss. It does not, however, have to prevent children from learning and communicating. Your child can acquire all of the skills and achieve the same milestones as other children their age with the proper treatment and assistance.
Here are some things you can do to assist.
Start Right Away
Children with hearing loss need to be treated as soon as possible.
“Babies’ brains develop quickly, so it’s critical to activate those sound pathways in the brain as soon as possible," Dale Amanda Tylor, MD, of Washington Township Medical Foundation in Fremont tells WedMD. “Children who are exposed to noises early in life are more likely to follow in the footsteps of their peers."
Hearing aids or other devices, such as cochlear implants, are given to the majority of children. They’re electrical devices that go into the inner ear and assist in processing sounds by the brain.
It’s never too soon to begin these treatments. Most states conduct hearing tests on newborns soon after delivery. As a result, infants may be fitted with hearing aids as soon as they are a few weeks old. Request that your child’s doctor assist you in finding a qualified paediatric audiologist who can help you determine the best course of action.
“Even children with severe hearing loss may catch up to their classmates by the age of five or six if they receive cochlear implants by the age of one or two," adds Tylor.
Explore Sounds With Your Child
Hearing noises and words at a young age can aid your child’s language acquisition. Find easy ways to include them into your day:
Play games with your baby that teach imitation, Peekaboo, pat-a-cake, and the itsy bitsy spider are just a few examples. These will educate your child to take turns while conversing with others.
Talk about the things you’re doing. “We’re going to Grandma’s home," for example, or “Daddy is doing the dishes."
Read to your child. As you proceed, describe the images. Ask your child to point to the pictures as you name them as he grows older. Alternatively, you might ask him to identify the photos.
Sing songs together. Including various activities that require the activation of senses contribute to a child’s development. Singing catchy nursery rhymes together can improve their hearing and understanding of rhythm. When guiding them, make sure your lips are wide open to demonstrate lip reading.
Use Early Intervention Services
Approximately 95% of parents of children with hearing loss do not suffer from the condition. As a result, kids have a lot to learn about how to live with and treat it. An early intervention programme may assist you in coordinating all of your child’s services. Babies who are deaf or hard of hearing should be placed in one as soon as feasible.
A programme may be available via your local public school or hospital. Working with hearing experts like audiologists and speech-language pathologists to create an “individualised family service plan" is what you’ll do (IFSP). Early intervention may also assist families by teaching them how to help their children remain on track with language and speech.
Find Support for Yourself
It’s simpler to assist your kid if you have assistance as well.
“Coping with hearing loss is a lot to manage at first," K. Todd Houston, PhD, an associate professor of speech-language pathology at the University of Akron tells WedMD. “Families require additional emotional support."
Counselling may be beneficial to parents who find it better to talk it out with professionals. Others may also seek help from support organisations. Both allow you to connect with others with deaf and hard of hearing family members. There are many online forums to choose from, or you can ask your doctor about local support groups. On its website, the Alexander Graham Bell Association lists chapters and hosts meet-ups and conferences for families.
“The shared experience and affirmation of a support group are quite appealing to many parents," Houston adds.
Speak Up for Your Child
You’re the one who knows what’s best for her. Let your care team know if anything in your plan isn’t working. They should collaborate with you to achieve your objectives. If not, seek out experts who can help.
“One of the greatest things you can do to help your kid flourish is to be engaged in their care," Houston adds. “As a result, don’t be hesitant to advocate for your child’s needs and to ask a lot of questions along the road."
- Alexander Graham Bell Association: “From Diagnosis to Action."
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: “Development: Birth to One Year," “Development: One to Two Years."
- CDC: “Treatment and Intervention Services."
- K. Todd Houston, PhD, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT, associate professor of speech-language pathology, School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Akron, OH.
- Dale Amanda Tylor, MD, MPH, pediatric and general otolaryngologist at Washington Township Medical Foundation, Fremont, CA.