It is very important to understand what hearing aids can and cannot do. Hearing aids can compensate for the hearing loss across the frequency range. They do this by making softer sounds louder, medium sounds comfortable, and by making sure that the louder sounds are not too loud. Hearing aids cannot make the hearing normal. They can only make the sounds loud enough to be useful to the brain.
Even children with a mild hearing loss are at risk for delayed communication development without the right hearing instruments and support. The most important thing is to make sure that your child wears his or her hearing aids for all of their waking hours. Hearing aids alone will not ensure that your child will develop speech and language skills. Babies need a wide variety of sounds for learning. It is very important to provide "auditory stimulation" so that the child’s brain can learn how to interpret speech and language. The more you talk to your child, the more experience your child will have in listening. The more experience your child has, the better chance he/she will have to develop communication skills.
Deciding which communication method to use for your child is one of the first decisions you will make. There are a number of ways to teach your child to communicate. Teaching your child to communicate is difficult regardless of which method you choose. Professionals can help you choose realistic goals based on the abilities of your child that are in line with your desires. Read each of the following goals to determine which are important to you. You may have some additional goals that are not listed. Know that your goals and expectations may change over time depending upon your child’s progress
- I want my child to be able to communicate their wants and needs to me, family members, and friends in a variety of situations.
- I want my child to grow up to be a happy self-supportive adult who can make independent choices and become a productive member of society.
- I want my child to have a meaningful educational experience that best suits their abilities.
- I want my child to have meaningful relationships with other individuals with and without hearing loss.
- I want my child to be able to use speech and language to communicate with family members and other individuals.
- I want my child to be able to use sign language to communicate with family members and other individuals.