If you've suspected hearing loss in your child, the diagnosis may not come as a shock to you, but you still have dozens of questions swimming around in your head. Below are three questions to be sure to ask the speech-language pathologist who diagnosed your child.
Question #1: How Severe is My Child's Loss and is it Expected to Worsen?
The severity of your child's hearing loss is important to understand, especially when deciding which therapies or treatments may help or hinder. Severity, or degree, refers to the range of decibels that cannot be heard, with a larger range meaning more severe.
If your child was born with a hearing loss but was not diagnosed with such at birth, your child may be suffering from a progressive loss. There are many causes of progressive hearing loss, including infections, hereditary factors, and certain syndromes. Hearing loss can also be sudden, which can be a result of head trauma, exposure to loud noise, or an infection. Knowing the severity and onset type will help you decide how to best approach future treatments.
Question #2: What Can We Do at Home to Make Communication Easier?
When children suffer from hearing loss, they may have trouble with speech, as well. Inability to communicate can be frustrating for your child, especially if they cannot understand why they cannot get their needs across.
At the time of diagnosis, it's a good time to ask the speech-language pathologist about any ideas they may have regarding communication. The tools you use will depend entirely on your child's hearing loss. Face-to-face communication is always important. This allows them to watch your lips form the words, and this also cuts down on surrounding distractions. Other tools include cued speech, sign language, and exaggerated facial expressions and movements.
Question #3: Will My Child Benefit from Speech-Language Therapy?
Speech-language therapy is a great way for your child to learn the communication tools they need to thrive developmentally. Depending on your preferences, your child can learn to speak or sign with the help of a speech therapist who is experienced in working with hard-of-hearing children.
This new-found communication can help your child to stay on-target developmentally and academically, and it can cut down significantly on feelings of isolation and unhappiness. This is vital for your child's overall well being. If your child's been diagnosed with hearing loss, no matter the degree or onset type, speech-language therapy will be of benefit.
If your child's been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may feel as if you're drowning in information. The answers to the three questions above will allow you to come up for air and get you through the first few weeks after diagnosis. Knowing the severity and ways to communicate can help you to further connect with your child, while setting up a therapy appointment will set them up for a bright future.