Effects of Hearing Loss On Child And Family
When parents discover that their child has a hearing loss, dreams they have for their child dissolve and expectations can change. There are many emotions that you may experience when you learn of your child’s hearing loss. Many parents react with feelings of confusion or sadness while other parents accept the diagnosis without much emotion and are just ready to take the next step. Some parents are actually relieved to find out the diagnosis of a hearing loss.
In time, most parents come to realize that many of the dreams they had for their child can still be accomplished, despite the hearing loss. They accept the hearing loss and chose to deal with it in a way that is comfortable and fitting to their family and unique lifestyles. Being able to accept that the your child’s hearing problem is real and then learning as much as possible about what you can do are big steps towards making the best decisions for your child. Such efforts as early as possible in the formative years will make a difference in your child‘s future, laying the groundwork for success.
Regardless of whether it is a child or parent, a hearing loss affects everyone in the family in one way or another. Relationships within the family are built on communication. Parents want to communicate with their children, and sisters and brothers want to be able to communicate with their siblings. Grandparents want to be able to communicate with their grandchildren. The family has to adapt to the child’s hearing loss in a positive way that facilitates communication. To assure success as your child grows, you will want to create a careful learning environment and apply effective communication techniques to maximize learning and socialization to the benefit of your child‘s overall development. If you can move ahead taking positive steps, one at a time, your child will benefit and you will be able to look forward to a satisfying future.
Fortunately, your child is living in an age when technology and support offer many excellent options. Using the advanced technology and many resources available, you have every reason to be optimistic about what can be done to help your child reach his or her highest potential.
For some families, they may be the only one in their school, neighborhood, church, or social network who has a child with hearing loss. It is important for families dealing with childhood hearing loss to know that there are other families dealing with the same issues. Building strong social connections with other families who have had the same experiences can be positive and lessen the feelings of isolation. It is not only beneficial for parents to connect with other parents, but children with hearing loss can develop a positive relationship with peers who may share a same hearing history.
There are several resources to increase family-to-family support. Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (www.agbell.org) provides helpful resources to parents dealing with childhood hearing loss. The Texas Chapter of AG Bell has the primary goal of increasing awareness of hearing loss and the benefits of early intervention. Chapter leaders volunteer their time to educate parents that children with hearing loss can learn to listen and talk. Hands & Voices is another non-profit organization with a Texas Chapter that is a parent-driven resource and focuses on outreach activities, parent/professional/community collaboration, and advocacy efforts to enable Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children to reach their highest potential. Another resource, The HoPE Parent Partnership Program, is designed to assist families in the early stages of learning that their infant or toddler has a hearing loss. The program has trained parents serving as Parent Partners that are available to help families understand their child’s diagnosis and provide support to families in accessing medical, audiological, early intervention and family support services to promote their child’s development. Contact your audiologist at 469-803-5552 for a referral to The HoPE Parent Partnership Program.