Hearing loss can and will significantly impact a child’s life. Here at the Center, our audiologists, speech-language pathologists, counselors, and educators are intimately familiar with hearing loss; some of us have it ourselves, some of us have now-grown children who were born with profound hearing loss, and others of us have close friends and family members who are Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing. Our staff strongly believes in a family-centered and positive approach to the management of your child’s hearing loss. It is our goal to enable your child to do and be anything and everything she or he desires.
Part of reaching this goal is educating you as a parent about hearing loss and its related implications if left unmanaged. And while your child is not defined by their hearing loss, it is very important to understand the Effects of Hearing Loss On Development. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has organized them into these four categories:
- Speech/Language: Delays in the development of receptive and expressive language.
- Academics: Language difficulties and reduced hearing in the classroom can contribute to reduced academic achievement.
- Social functioning: Communication difficulties can lead to isolation and poor self-concept.
- Vocational choices: The above categories may limit career path.
As you can see, hearing loss has serious effects on a child’s development. However, early, family-centered intervention with a multidisciplinary team of professionals can promote language and cognitive development for your child, as well as prepare you to address the implications. It is our job at the Center to help you and your child to do this in order to shatter any perceived and/or real limitations or barriers. Here are some more detailed approaches to ensure that your child reaches the appropriate development stages:
- Ensure that a child has the opportunity to fully participate in the environment by providing communication access auditorally or visually.
- Inform families about development milestones
- Provide tools for the child, family and educators to develop good communication skills, including the usage of amplification
- Encourage the development of appropriate social skills
- Educate caregivers and other family members on creating positive and successful experiences when the child attempts new skills
Teens Living With Hearing Loss
We all know that the teenage years can be a struggle: it is a time of identity confusion, rebellion, dramatic physical change, and the tumultuous emotions that accompany all of this. It is also an exciting time in which an individual comes of age and discovers who they are.
Youth with hearing loss face a unique set of barriers due to a lack of common knowledge and understanding about hearing loss in society. Therefore, it is a critical time to provide support, guidance and opportunities for them to succeed.
Some common issues youth with hearing loss face are
1) Identity confusion. Youth with hearing loss may have a hard time understanding where they fit in with peers, especially if they are exposed only to hearing peers. They may ask themselves: “Am I Deaf? Hearing? Or in between…If so, what does that mean?”… or “Am I the only one?”
2) Academic challenges. Students with hearing loss may fall behind in school because they can miss information and disengage from class discussions. The hearing loss makes it difficult to take notes and listen at the same time, or catch every bit of cross talk, so students have to work extra hard to keep up.
3) Depression or low self- esteem. Again, this is a common experience for many teens, but some youth with hearing loss might feel frustrated by the sense of being ‘different.’ This can lead to social isolation, withdrawal and other symptoms of depression.
Our Center works to prevent these issues and to support youth and families who face these struggles. We are proud of our youth program which creates a positive and supportive community where our wonderful youth can thrive and feel a sense of belonging.