10 things parents should know about hearing loss

  • The problem with hearing loss is that it keeps sound from reaching the brain. Hearing loss is not about the ears: it is about the brain.
  • Ninety-five percent of babies with hearing loss are born to hearing and speaking families.
  • Hearing aids do not correct a hearing impairment; rather, they amplify and shape the incoming sounds to make them audible to the child.
  • The degree of hearing loss is no longer a factor in determining the functional outcome of a child. With the early use of amplification or cochlear implant technologies, the child’s auditory brain center can be accessed, stimulated, and developed.
  • The cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid; hearing aids amplify sound but cochlear implants compensate for damaged or nonworking parts of the ear.
  • Putting on hearing aids or cochlear implant(s) is not enough. The child also needs an abundance of auditorily-based verbal interacting with the parent.
  • Cognitive and linguistic functioning in the child can be expected to follow the normal course of development IF appropriate auditory and linguistic experience is provided from an early age.
  • Language is typically acquired in the normal course of everyday routines and play.
  • No skill is acquired without practice. Children learn to listen by practicing listening. Practice, practice, practice is required if a child is going to become a good listener.
  • Children are neurologically “wired” to develop spoken language and reading skills through the central auditory sytem. Research shows that the primary reading centers are located in the auditory portion of the brain. That is why many children who are born with hearing losses and do not have access to auditory input early tend to have a great deal of difficulty reading even though their vision is fine.

Adapted from Children With Hearing Loss, Flexer, C. and Cole, E., 2007.