... we make you hear better.

... we make you hear better.

Information for Parents

The arrival of a newborn is usually a source great joy to every parent and family. The diagnosis of hearing loss especially in an apparently normal child is therefore a source of concern, grief and pain for any parent. The emotional and psychological burden is compounded by unfavourable cultural beliefs about childhood hearing loss in many communities. However, it is important to recognise that every child is endowed in many other ways waiting to be unlocked by providing the child with communication skills. Your child needs your help and support to overcome this difficult and very crucial phase of his or her life.

Provision of hearing devices is necessary but not sufficient to help a child develop spoken language. Proper selection and fitting by an experienced ear care specialist actively supported with on-going developmental surveillance is critical to obtaining optimal results. Because fitting children is more complex than adults, parents must endeavour to seek the services of a specialist with experience and skill in working with children. It is important to recognise that hearing aids simply “aid hearing” and do not cure hearing loss or restore hearing to a normal condition. Like eye glasses hearing aids can provide benefit by improving hearing and listening abilities for the user. However, parents must adhere to professional advice on the proper handling of the devices and the required home-based support for optimal speech and language outcomes.

More importantly, a child’s hearing loss affects several other areas that are crucial for optimal development in early childhood. Any attempt to hide the child’s hearing loss or not wanting to draw attention to the child that needs to be fitted with hearing aids is not in the best interest of the child. Delay or failure to get proper help for the child may lead to irreversible adverse consequences for the child’s development. It is therefore necessary to ensure that no aspect of the child’s development is neglected especially for children with multiple but interrelated problems.

At school age, children with severe-to-profound hearing loss can be readily detected by their obvious difficulties with verbal communication compared to those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Parents must therefore be alert to subtle signs of hearing difficulties in the latter group of children as they could adversely affect their child’s educational performance (see section on Hearing Loss). Basic hearing and vision screening tests are provided routinely at school entry in some schools. But where such services are not available every parent should make arrangement to have their child tested as the affected children are unlikely to recognise their hearing difficulty as a problem. Screening tests should also be promptly offered to children who perform poorly in school to rule out hearing or visual difficulties.

The vast majority of children will have no hearing loss. But for the few that will be affected early/timely detection is essential to minimize the associated adverse consequences. Hearing screening tests not only facilitate early detection of a child with a hearing loss, if properly conducted they also provide a great deal of assurance that a child does not have a hearing loss.

Parents may also find it useful to obtain good reading materials written specifically for parents of children with hearing loss. These materials often contain accounts of the experiences of other parents and professionals who have successfully managed this condition. The web is also a valuable source of information to equip parents to understand how to better help their children in home settings to complement the services from their ear care providers.

Useful links for parents (to be updated regularly):

Alexander Graham Bell
Hands and Voices
Sound Start for Every Child