Help Kids Hear – A web site dedicated to helping parents of children that are deaf or hard of hearing.  The latest news, resources, articles, and discussions about hearing impaired children!
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A site for parents of hard of hearing & deaf children.
In the News - News articles about hearing impairment, new technologies, and other related materials.
Articles & Commentary - Our editorial section. Articles written by us and by professionals in the field.
Resources & Information - Our largest section. Dedicated to helping you find the information you need. Everything from educational information, sources financial support, mental health support and more!
Facts & Figures - A brief "stat sheet" with information about just how common hearing impairment is, particularly in children.
Discussion Forum - What we hope will be hallmark of our site. An open forum where you can read and post questions about hearing impairment across a wide variety of categories.
For the Kids - Links to and information just for the kids themselves.

Who Can Help?
Taken from the "For Families Guidebook," © 1998 Hearing & Speech Institute, Portland, OR.

"Your Child Has a Hearing Loss"

Even though you may have suspected there was a problem, hearing a doctor or audiologist say, "Your child has a hearing loss, may have come as a shock to you. Most people do not know much about hearing loss and what it means for their child and family. As the professional who delivered this news to you talk further, you may not have heard much of what he or she was saying. In your mind, questions may have started to churn:

"Can it be corrected?"
"What caused it?" "Will it get better?"
"Will it get worse?"
"Can he learn to talk?"
"Can she go to regular school?"
"If we have more children, will they be deaf, too?"
"Can he get married?"
"Will she be able to get a job?"

The answers you get to some of these questions may not be what you want to hear; "No this type of hearing loss cannot be medically or surgically corrected." Or "We don't know for sure what your child's future holds - it depends on a lot of things." You want the best for your child and now, you are not sure you know what to do.

In the days and weeks following the diagnosis of your child's hearing loss, you may feel like you are on a roller coaster. Your feelings may swing from despair to hope, from sadness to anger, from feeling incompetent to feeling confidant. As you carry out your daily routines --finishing a chore or arriving at a destination - you may realize that your mind was somewhere else, thinking about your child and what you should do. You may also find within yourself unexpected sources of strength to do what has to be done in spite of feeling that you are living under a cloud.

The professionals who evaluate your child's hearing will have recommendations for you: see an ear specialist, meet with early intervention professionals, have more testing done. As you follow these recommendations, you will meet people who can help answer your questions and explain the decisions you must make. The information they give you and opinions they express may also create more confusion for you!

You will be making many decisions in the days ahead. Give yourself the time you need to make decisions that feel right for your family. Keep in mind there are very few decisions you will make that you cannot change.

WHO CAN HELP?
You will meet new people as a result of your child’s hearing loss. Some of these people will be medical professionals, some will be parents and caregivers of other children with impaired hearing, some will be educators, and some will be audiologists. Here is a brief description of ways in which each of these groups may be of help to you.

Audiologist

The audiologist can help by:

  1. Having the appropriate equipment (Visual Reinforcement, Audiometry, Tympanometry) and the skills to test the hearing of infants and toddlers.
  2. Obtaining complete information about your child's hearing in each ear at a range of frequencies.
  3. Carrying out - or referring infants or difficult-to-test children for -Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) testing and Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing, when necessary.
  4. Recommending appropriate amplification.
  5. Keeping your child equipped with well-fitting earmolds.
  6. Testing your child while wearing amplification and questioning parents about child's responses to sounds at home.
  7. Giving you information about early intervention programs available to your family.
  8. Working in partnership with you and early intervention specialists to monitor and maintain your child's amplification systems (Hearing aids, FM systems, cochlear implants).

Early Intervention Specialist or Early Childhood Special Education Teacher

The Specialist/Educator can help by:

  1. Describing the services offered through their early intervention program and costs, if any, associated with services.
  2. Describing how your family members will be involved in early intervention services: defining your roles in early intervention and their expectations about your family's participation.
  3. Answering, when possible, your questions about how your child's hearing loss will affect his ability to learn, to communicate, and to participate in school and society.
  4. Discussing with you how both your child's strengths and needs and your family's strengths and needs will be assessed and when these assessments will take place.
  5. Giving you a time line for when services will begin and end.
  6. Describing the curriculum that will be used to promote your child's acquisition of listening and communication skills.
  7. Describing how you and other caregivers will be given opportunity to acquire information and skills that will help you promote your child's development of listening and communication/language skills.
  8. Listening to your observations and concerns about your child and discussing these with you.
  9. Working with the audiologist to help your child learn to use amplification and make sure the child's hearing aids function properly.
  10. Keeping records of child's progress in acquisition of listening skills.
  11. Providing you and your child with high-quality, individualized early intervention services that lead to your child acquiring listening and communication/language skills.
  12. Giving you support during difficult times.
  13. Working with you to define your child's educational needs when your child is ready to "graduate" from early intervention.

Pediatrician/Family Practitioner

Your child's primary care physician can help by:

  1. Referring you to an audiologist skilled in testing the hearing of infants and toddlers when you express concern about your child's hearing.
  2. Answering your questions about medical or surgical treatment of different types of hearing loss.
  3. Confirming the need for prompt action involving amplification and early intervention once your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss.
  4. Putting you in touch with early intervention programs.
  5. Treating your child - or referring to ear specialists - when your child has middle ear disease that increases his/her degree of hearing loss.

Otologist, Otolaryngologist or Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) Physician

The ENT can help by:

  1. Confirming that there is not a medically treatable condition in your child's Outer ear or middle ear that is causing the hearing loss.
  2. Answering your questions about medical or surgical treatment of different types of hearing loss.
  3. Scheduling further procedures (i.e. urinalysis, CT scan) to rule out other causes of the hearing loss.
  4. Signing a form authorizing use of hearing aids with your child (required by law in some states before hearing aids can be fit on a child).
  5. Placing ventilation, or PE, tubes in your child's eardrums if he has chronic middle ear disease that is not resolved by antibiotics in a timely way.

Other parents of deaf or hard of hearing children

Other parents can help by:

  1. Sharing experiences they have had with professionals and early intervention programs.
  2. Telling you about people and information sources they have found useful.
  3. Listening to you.
  4. Sharing with you their feelings related to parenting a child with hearing loss and how their feelings have changed over time.
  5. Telling you about their child's achievements.
  6. Getting together with you so your children can play together.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults

Other deaf and hard of hearing adults can help by:

  1. Sharing personal experiences and information by a D/HH individual.
  2. Sharing educational, social, and cultural experiences and perspectives.
  3. Modeling different means of communication.
  4. Acting as a role model for the parents and D/HH child.
  5. Bringing hope to families about overcoming challenges and creating success.

Taken from the "For Families Guidebook," © 1998 Hearing & Speech Institute, Portland, OR.

 

 
 

Help Kids Hear is a site dedicated to helping parents of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. We are parents of hard of hearing kids and simply want to "give back" to the community. We welcome your comments, questions & suggestions. Please drop us a note at info@helpkidshear.org.