What to do if your child suddenly develops hearing loss
Published: 6/27/2023 3:58:17 AM
While many people are born with a hearing loss, others develop it later in life. This is called an acquired hearing loss and it can be a frightening and confusing diagnosis, especially if comes out of the blue. However, there are plenty of support channels to help you deal with these sudden changes.
What to expect at first
Acquired hearing loss may present a range of challenges for your family. Your child may experience, fearfulness, depression, withdrawal or develop more demanding behaviour due to their sudden change in hearing. It’s normal for you to experience a grieving process as you worry about what your child’s hearing loss means for their future.
How to manage acquired hearing loss
- Visit an audiologist: It’s important to quickly find new ways to effectively communicate with your child. If they can still hear some speech, your audiologist can help you understand how to make the most of their hearing until hearing aids are fitted. If your child cannot hear enough to understand speech, learning some Auslan (Australian) sign language can be very helpful. An audiologist, doctor or hearing loss professional can help you locate local classes.
- Speak to other families: Online support groups and community organisations can help you to find other families of children with hearing loss, which will help both you and your child to feel more comfortable and confident about the future.
- See a counsellor: Visiting a psychologist or counsellor experienced with hearing loss can help your child (and you) to deal with feelings of grief, loss and confusion.
- Schedule a hearing test: Until their hearing levels stabilise, your child will need frequent hearing tests. Hearing aids can be fitted as soon as it is known that your child will need them to supplement their hearing. If your child has severe-to-profound hearing loss, a cochlear implant will also be discussed.
While this can be a scary time, hearing loss is very manageable if you have the right support from professionals, and surround yourself with friends and family who are there to help or understand what you’re going through. The first step is visiting an expert – a doctor, audiologist or hearing loss specialist – to arm yourself with information and feel more at ease.