How to Adapt to Your Child's Hearing Loss

By Saba Murtaz

It's very tough for parents to come to terms with the fact that their child may never be able to hear properly ever again. There’s always hope in the medical field that one day, stem cells could be used to grow cells in the damaged area and restore someone’s hearing. But until scientists make such a cure, you as a family will need to band together to adapt. When a child loses their hearing or has severe hearing loss, it can be difficult for other family members to abide by the new communication rules. If you don’t know what they are, here’s a list you can easily follow.


Turn and face

When speaking with your child, make sure you are facing them directly. This isn’t just to alert them to the body language that you are speaking to them, but because the soundwaves from your voice will be entering into their ears without obstruction. Don’t talk while looking away, as the walls will slowly take some of the energy out of the soundwaves and your words may not be heard as clearly to coherently understand what it is you're saying to them.


Tap on the shoulder

In the beginning, when your child is getting used to hearing aids, you will need to occasionally tap them on the shoulder to get their attention. Try not to make it obvious if you’re in public to save them any embarrassment. You could work out a system with your child such as only tapping them on the left shoulder when it's you. This way they know it's you and will be more likely to pay attention quicker.


Consider the conditions

The conditions you’re in also have a great effect on your hearing loss communication with your child. If it's too bright it could impede them from reading your lips. Get your face out of the sun and consider lowering the ambient light in your house to help your child focus on your lips and avoid lighting distractions. Try to keep away from areas where there is quite a lot of background noise. This can make your voice unrecognizable in a sea of others.


Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself

Your child will take a little time to get used to the pace of conversations, with some words being clear and others not so. Your accent may also play a part in the understanding of what’s being talked about. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself over and over. Try to speak slower each time and encourage your child to ask questions if they’re not sure. You will find that rephrasing the sentence will help them as some words have harsher and therefore clearer sounds.


Pen and pad

One of the easiest ways to communicate with a child that has hearing loss is by writing things down for them. Always carry a small pen and pad with you, just in case their hearing aid runs out of batteries or you’re in a crowd of people, such as at a sports event.

Adapting to their new lifestyle hearing loss, a child will need help keeping up in conversations. Speak while facing them directly, speak slower if they don’t follow, and write it down if you hit a wall.

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