How To Help Your Child Cope With Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can affect people of all ages and it isn’t uncommon in children. If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, there are several treatments, therapies, and support available. Hearing aids are very smart nowadays and are an effective treatment for hearing loss. You can also look into child speech pathology. The important thing is to educate yourself in their condition and learn a few techniques on how to communicate with them. They may also need special assistance at school and with family and friends. Here are a few tips on how to help your child cope with hearing loss.
Seek help and support
After having their hearing tested, an audiologist will be able to recommend suitable treatment. Your child will likely be fitted with a hearing aid that will amplify sounds in place of the inner ear. You could also consider other therapies available as well at a center of child speech pathology. These include speech therapy, for example, and auditory-verbal therapy. Check out programs specifically designed for children as these will have the right techniques and exercises. Your audiologist may also be able to suggest support groups and ways to get in contact with other families dealing with hearing loss.
Help them get used to their hearing aid
Hearing aids are a common and effective treatment. Most children will be fitted with a behind-the-ear (BTE) model that will be custom-designed. These are very comfortable and even if they feel strange at first, your child will quickly get used to them. There are also a few things you can do to help. The main thing to do is to normalize the hearing aid. Make it part of your child’s everyday background, so they see putting it on in the same way as getting dressed in the morning. Let them play with the device and turn it on and off while holding it so they can feel the vibrations. They could also try it on switched off.
Once your child’s more used to wearing their hearing aid, you could get them to test it in different situations. Start with a calm one-to-one conversation, then try watching TV at home. You can then take them out and about to get them to adapt to other scenarios. Here is some more information about hearing aids for children.
Explore new sounds together
Find fun ways to explore new sounds together. You could go on a family hike in an area of natural beauty near you to see if they can identify bird and animal sounds. You could use toys to do this as well. Ask your audiologist or speech pathologist for tips and advice. They’ll probably be able to recommend fun games you can play together. Make sounds more visual as well by acting them out or drawing them. The activities you choose will depend on the age of your child and the severity of their condition, the important thing is that they have fun and develop confidence.
Inform family, friends, and teachers
As well as getting your child and yourself used to living with hearing loss, it’s also vital to inform family, friends, and teachers. Give them a few communication tips so they understand how to make your child comfortable and make themselves understood. These can include picking the right environment with plenty of light where everyone can see each other’s faces clearly. This way your child can rely on lip-reading and facial expressions as well. It’s also important to try to minimize background noise. Avoid shouting and instead speak slowly and clearly. Always be patient and maintain a positive attitude. This will hopefully help your child to develop confidence in communicating with the other people in their life.
Monitor their hearing
Take your child for regular checkups with an audiologist and have their hearing tested. This will give you peace of mind and it will help to prevent further health problems. Your child’s device will need to be regularly tested, adjusted, and refitted as they grow so it’s important to stay on top of these checkups. An audiologist will also be able to give you cleaning and maintenance tips for hearing aids and other advice on how to cope with hearing loss. They’ll also explain ways to protect your child’s hearing. The more help and support you can receive, the better, so have your child’s hearing continually monitored by a professional. This way you can help them get used to having hearing loss and improve their overall quality of life.