Frequently asked questions

What are the first signs that parents should look for if they suspect their child has a hearing loss?

Unless a family has reason to expect the possibility of a hearing loss, some of the early signs may be missed. Sometimes, hoping that suspicions are not true, parents wait before having their baby's hearing checked. However, it's important to test the child's hearing as soon as you suspect that there may be a problem.

 

You should be concerned if you notice that:

  • Your infant does not startle to loud or sudden noises, or turn toward sound.
  • By 8 months, the baby is not cooing, babbling, or laughing.
  • By 12 months, the child is not trying to imitate sounds and actions in turn-taking games or is not understanding simple commands.

The outcome of an assessment if there is a hearing loss identified is to ensure that you seek an early intervention service who can provide good advice and ongoing support to protect against the possible complications associated with your child's hearing loss.

What is newborn screening?

The screening is a simple test done by an audiologist which takes only a few minutes to perform. It is not a comprehensive test of hearing. Its purpose is to identify babies that need further testing to determine the presence of a hearing loss. If a baby does not pass the screening test, more thorough hearing testing is normally done before a diagnosis is made. It is important for parents to realize that in screening, there can be "false positives."  A baby may fail the screening, but follow-up testing can indicate no hearing loss. On the other hand, a baby may pass the screening, yet in time, a hearing loss may be identified.(ref Ling) Find out more by clicking here

 

What if my child doesn't want to wear his/her amplification device?

At first, placing an amplification device in your child's ear is going to be strange for you and your child, and you may feel fear or frustration yourself. Do not to share these feelings with your child - focus on the good that will come from the aid. Children often accept the device  willingly after continued use. It helps to make sure that the child is rewarded by experiencing sound as the aid is applied, so be sure to talk with your child as you do it. If a child pulls out the aid you need to calmly yet firmly replace it. Doing so will not cause your child any discomfit or damage to the ear.

 

How long will it be before you can expect to see results from intensive speech and language therapy?

With intensive Auditory-Verbal Therapy and appropriate amplification, progress should be obvious to parents in the first 6 months. Learning to listen

with the child's available residual hearing is a slow and steady process. Children develop a great deal of "speech" before they utter their first words. When a child begins to listen and make sense of what he or she is hearing, speech usually follows. As the parent, it's valuable to keep talking, joking, singing and providing other auditory stimulation.

 

Why is it easier to understand the speech of some children who are deaf or have a hearing loss and not others?

Hearing is the only sense that can provide a child with all the information they need to reproduce speech accurately (ref Ling). 
Usually the speech of children with a hearing loss who are making good use of their auditory potential are easier to understand. This is because good listening helps the child hear his or her own speech, as well as helping him or her pick up on the natural rhythm and inflection of normal speech patterns. This is one major reason that early listening and speech intervention is important for a child who is deaf or has a hearing loss.

 

What role can parents play in the education of their child who is deaf or has a hearing loss?

Parents or guardians must become educated about different communication options in order to make their own informed decision for a child with hearing loss and their family. Once parents decide to choose their preferred option, they can and should expect support from teachers and therapists. If you are a parent of a child with hearing loss, you will quickly become adept in the skills and techniques that work with your child, and become the expert of what's best for him or her. You will become the main advocate for your child. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA '97: PL 105-17) is very clear on the role and rights of parents in the life of their child.

Hear and Say acknowledge information sourced from the AG Bell website