Being a parent of a child diagnosed with hearing loss, we understand that you will have many questions and concerns.
- Understanding the nature of children’s hearing loss.
- What are the potential effects on my child’s future?
- What are the treatment options and resources for children with hearing loss?
We are here to provide you with the necessary initial information, and guidance about the availability of resources and the different medical care professionals and their rolls.
Finding out your child is hearing impaired.
It’s not unusual for parents to react with anger, grief, and guilt when finding out that your child is hearing-impaired. It is important to discuss these things with a family member, close friend, church counselor or mental health professional. It is also not unusual to experience some level of denial.
A second opinion about your child’s hearing loss.
It’s okay to get a second opinion, but it’s important not to delay recommended diagnostic evaluations for your child. Early intervention is the best treatment for hearing loss of any degree. Considerable delays may result in irreversible harm to your child’s hearing, speech, language and educational development.
Health care professionals and the role they will play in managing your child’s hearing loss.
Usually the Audiologist will be the first doctor you work with. They are probably the one who gives the initial news about your child’s hearing loss. The audiologist will conduct testing to determine the degree and type of hearing loss. The doctor will provide your child with ear molds and hearing aids. They may also refer you to an early intervention program. They will do follow ups to monitor your child’s hearing loss and progress.
Pediatric Otolaryngologist or ENT Physician
After you receive the hearing loss diagnosis, your child will be referred to an ENT Doctor, (an ear, nose, and throat specialist or otolaryngologist), who specializes in ear and hearing problems. Their first role is to determine the nature of the underlying problem that may be at causing the hearing loss. The ENT physician will also determine if the problem is treatable. If so, they will provide medical or surgical treatment. The hearing loss treatments could include the placement of eardrum ventilation tubes, or other surgical procedures. The pediatric ENT specialist may also recommend additional diagnostic procedures like X-rays, CT-scans, or an MRI scan to discover the source and type of hearing loss your child is experiencing. The doctor will also provide a hearing aid fitting, if no other intervention is indicated.
If a cochlear implant is needed, the otolaryngologist and audiologist, will perform further tests and examinations, before the implant surgery.
Speech Pathologist or Speech Language Pathologist SLP
A speech pathologist will evaluate how your child’s hearing loss impacts their speech/language development, and progress to make sure your child isn’t falling behind. If this should occur, the SLP may refer your child to the audiologist or otolaryngologist to see if any changes have occurred to their hearing. The SLP can also help teach correct articulation of speech sounds.
If your child chooses to communicate orally, your child may also be treated by an auditory-verbal therapist, who helps your child learn the full range of speech sounds. The auditory-verbal therapist can also help the family become familiar with developmental milestones to expect for a child with hearing loss.
There are many other people that can provide additional information for you and your hard-of-hearing child. You can learn from parents of older hard-of-hearing children. Hard-of-hearing adults can share their experiences with you and may have suggestions for resources in the community. Finding out about children’s hearing loss can be deeply concerning but understanding the nature of their hearing loss and knowing what to expect can help to alleviate stress.