Dealing with the risk of hearing impairment in children isn’t as uncommon as you might believe. Around 15% of all children in the United States alone deal with some kind of hearing loss, whether temporary or permanent. Even more are susceptible to other ear and hearing problems, such as tinnitus. So it’s important to talk about the risk, treatment, and life afterward once you’ve had a scare. Here, we’ll look at not only what you should do to decrease the risk. We’ll look at how to support them in school and in their social life and what tools can help them.
Know the risks
If you haven’t had a child with a hearing impairment yet, it’s important to realize just how prevalent the risk is. It isn’t enough to know the statistic of how many children will come up against these issues. You should also know where these risks come from. One to consider is just how bad high levels of noise can be. Remember to get regular auditory tests to make sure they’re developing properly. If they’ve been to a party or a cinema, it’s recommended to let their ears rest after, as well. If you’re concerned about their hearing, then ask them about it. See if they fully understand when people are talking to them or if they have trouble talking to groups.
Helping to teach them
A child with hearing impairment is going to have more problems as they grow which you can teach them to deal with. It’s important to start early with this, too. Later in life, at school at such, they need to be prepared for what they’re going to face. When explaining things to a hearing impaired child, use short and clear sentences. Even drawing pictures can help them understand things quicker.
Getting the support they need at school
Although you will be letting them go into the world on their own, there is a lot you can do to improve their experience of the school and education. For one, make sure that you talk to the school and their teacher in particular about their conditions. Help them understand the difficulties your child faces and how you get around them at home. If your child develops hearing problems before school, you can also get them involved in early intervention programs. These programs can help them with speech therapy, for instance.
Aids for every occasion
To help your child, you may be able to have them fitted with hearing aids. Standard hearing aids can give them a boost in being able to quickly understand everyday situations. However, you can also consider specialized hearing aids that can help them with different occasions. For example, your child might want to watch TV but have trouble with digital sound more than other sounds. Devices like TV Ears are fit specifically to help them hear the TV better. Consider different aids that might work for your child in different situations.
Communication is vital
Hearing the world isn’t the only problem for a lot of children with hearing impairments. Being heard can pose as much of a challenge. There is one thing, in particular, you need to do for your child. You need to resist the urge to act as their interpreter. Help them to communicate for themselves, to be a child and make friends. Have a dialogue with them about how their day goes and who they’ve talked to. Teach them that it’s okay to be asked and to answer questions about their hearing, about their aids and such. Do your best to help them find their own voice.
The challenge of self-esteem
A big part of helping them communicate is teaching them to have self-esteem. Humor can often be a very useful tool in that. It’s disarming and allows them to talk about things in a way that doesn’t feel too serious and scary. Make sure they know that it’s not the end of the world to make mistakes or fail. Help them know what to say when encountering someone, for instance, who doesn’t know they have a hearing impairment. Teach them to ask people to talk directly to them, for example.
Hearing loss is a significant physical disability, but it doesn’t have to be the dominating factor in your child’s life. There’s a lot of help out there. In assisting them with hearing, communicating and getting the education they need. You’re not on your own, so tap into the resources available to help them get the positive, independent life they deserve.