If your child doesn’t respond when you call or doesn’t jump at a loud noise, he may be suffering a type of hearing loss. Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, you and your family must take specific steps to ensure your child’s social, linguistic and cognitive development is on schedule.
Early help for your deaf or hard-of-hearing child will get your child caught up or on pace with proper development. For most families, verbal and auditory communication is their main form of contact with one another. If your child misses this, he could fall behind in his social development. Children tend to learn about their world and language by listening to their families and caretakers talk. Specific help can overcome these obstacles and keep him on track.
The first aid your child needs is a proper assessment. Most hospitals and pediatrician offices can conduct these tests. The assessment will evaluate how much hearing your child has lost, which ears have suffered and the degrees of loss. You and your child’s doctor can also assess what caused the hearing loss. After gaining this information, you can decide how much and which type of intervention is necessary.
The help you give may come in a variety of forms. Your child may require a physical intervention such as a hearing aid or a cochlear implant. Your child may need oral training to learn to speak or sign language training. Especially at your child’s early age, your whole family may need intervention to learn how to communicate.
When your child is diagnosed with a hearing loss, it’s important that you educate yourself and become aware of every resource available to you. Once you have educated yourself, talk with your family, close friends, caretakers, pediatrician and any other important people in your child’s life. Ensure that everyone understands the steps you are taking and the help your child needs. If everyone agrees and works together, your child will receive consistent help.
Tap into as many resources as you have available. A speech therapist or language pathologist can teach your family sign language and work with your child to develop proper communication tools. Local sign language teachers can further develop your skills. Your pediatrician and audiologist can care for your child’s ears and physical issues.