When Baby has a Hearing Loss: First Steps for Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. - WeHaveKids - Family
Updated date:

When Baby has a Hearing Loss: First Steps for Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.

My son Nolan, born in 2007, has a severe-profound hearing loss and hears with a cochlear implant.

Hearing Bees Buzz


When Silence is Not Golden: Childhood Hearing Loss

Every parent of a child with hearing loss remembers the moment well: the look on the audiologist's face when the hearing test was completed...and failed. The shock, the grief, and the worry about the future are intense in the first weeks and months after a diagnosis of congenital hearing loss is made. Some babies are born with a severe or profound hearing loss (this may be more commonly referred to as "deaf") and some babies are born with a mild or moderate hearing loss (more commonly referred to as "hard of hearing").

What steps should parents take after learning of their child's permanent hearing loss?

Get Support When Baby Can't Hear

Join a yahoo.com parent support group, such as the Listen-Up email listserve.

If your baby has a severe/profound hearing loss and cochlear implants are a possibility, join the Pediatric CI Circle group.

In addition, there are several blogs written by parents who have children with hearing loss. Get in touch with a community of other parents who have "been there, done that."

Learn about helpful resources: The John Tracy Clinic is invaluable (and free) for children with hearing loss.

Learn about helpful resources: The John Tracy Clinic is invaluable (and free) for children with hearing loss.

Get Educated on Childhood Hearing Loss

  • Look up the John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles, a free resource for parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing preschoolers. They offer a free correspondence course for parents of infants and preschoolers, in addition to a free summer program for preschoolers.
  • Learn about infant and childhood hearing loss with the information provided at My Baby's Hearing, a Boy's Town website focusing on early hearing loss detection.
  • Learn how to read an audiogram: Raising Deaf Kids has an excellent resource on understanding what this graphical representation of hearing ability means.
  • Take advantage of the many free resources for parents of children with hearing loss.

Get Moving

Once the hearing loss is confirmed, move as quickly as possible to obtain hearing aids and early intervention services. Ideally, a child with hearing loss should be amplified by the age of six months. Talk to the child's pediatrician, Ear-Nose-Throat doctor, and audiologist to learn about your child's specific needs.

The grief process can be very difficult, but it does pass, and your child will brighten every day with their amazing progress and growth!

Obtain Books on Childhood Hearing Loss

David Luterman has an excellent book for families coping with pediatric hearing loss. The book covers the emotional and grief process in addition to the more technical aspects of childhood hearing loss. Sibling relationships, communication methods, and hearing amplification technology are explored in this book.

Carol Flexor is an expert in the field of auditory-verbal therapy and audiology. She has written several books, including a wonderful synopsis of the way children learn to listen and speak within the first six years of life.

These books, along with many others, will give parents the resources and hope to get through the early months after the diagnosis of childhood hearing loss is made.

Hearing Aids and Therapy Work: Three-Year-Old with Moderately Severe Mixed Hearing Loss

Ask Questions About Childhood Hearing Loss

Ask questions of the audiologist and the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. Some suggested questions are:

  1. Is this hearing loss permanent?
  2. What could have caused this hearing loss?
  3. Will hearing aids help my baby?
  4. What does my baby's level of hearing loss mean?
  5. What, exactly, can my baby hear?
  6. How do we get early intervention services?
  7. What type of communication mode is recommended?
  8. What kind of therapy should we seek?
  9. Is there a local parent support group?
  10. Will this hearing loss be stable or will it progress?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Related Articles


Free Resources for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

Free resources for parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Free advocacy training, distance education courses, and magazines are available to families of young children diagnosed with hearing loss.


What Do You Need for a New Baby?

What do you really need for your newborn baby? There are many products on the market, many of which you'll never use. A checklist of items you will need before you bring your baby home!


When Your Baby Has an Imperforate Anus

"Your baby has a birth defect." These are words that no parent wants to hear and with an imperforate anus, most of the time the diagnosis is a total surprise since it doesn`t show up on the ultrasound.


Delays in Toddler Language Development

Speech and language delays are a concern for many parents, who wonder if their child is simply a "late talker"or if there is a true language disorder present. Learn the signs of a language delay: early intervention is vital to successful treatment.


Picky Eaters: When to Worry about Your Child’s Nutrition

What is the difference between picky eating and a feeding problem? Learn the top ten signs that signal the need for medical investigation of picky eating in children.


School's Out: The Loss of Recess in America

Recess was once an accepted part of a child's school day. With increasing pressures for academic success, many schools are cutting or eliminating play time in favor of rigorous academic pursuits. Many schools are built without playgrounds in cities like Chicago and Atlanta. Research shows recess actually boosts test scores and increases a child's attention span: some parent led initiatives are striving to bring recess back to American schools.


Music Lessons: The Importance of Music Education for Children

Music education is highly important for young children, increasing math skills, fine motor coordination, and helping children learn the benefits of perseverance and delayed gratification. Think your child is ready for music lessons? Consider the age of the child, developmental readiness, and time commitment before staring formal instrument lessons!


The Best Educational Toys and Games for 3-Year-Old Children

Great toys for three year olds are simple and meet the developmental needs of a child moving from babyhood to childhood. Preschoolers need toys that foster language, gross motor, and social/emotional development. Don't break the bank—find out what toys matter for this age group!


The Best Strollers for Big Kids

Sometimes a stroller is needed for an older, larger child. This article reviews different stroller types for big kids, and provides examples of stroller alternatives, jogging strollers, and large umbrella strollers.


How to Help Children Cope With Death and Loss

Helping children cope with death is one of the hardest things you will encounter. But the most important thing is to let them deal with death on their terms.


10 Tips for Young Mothers and First Time Parents

Here are the top ten tips for young mothers and first-time parents for creating a healthy and happy relationship with your newborn baby.


5 Best Parenting Tips From a First Timer

Seasoned parents love to tell new moms and dads that raising children is the toughest job they'll ever love. They couldn't be more right.


Things That a Mother Who Has Lost Her Baby Would Like You to Know

Even if you don't know someone who has lost a baby, there are things that every childless parent wants you to know. It may be an uncomfortable subject for most, but death of babies do happen and affect the lives of parents more than you may think.


How to Reduce a Child's Fever

Fevers are a body's natural method for fighting of viral or bacterial infections. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to lower a fever—a combination of fever-reducing medications and natural fever reducers may be used to comfort a sick child.


Early Childhood Education: Choosing a Preschool Program

Choosing a preschool program is a difficult choice for parents seeking a quality early childhood education curriculum for their children. This article addresses several areas of concern and suggests questions and observations parents should make before deciding on a preschool program for their child.