Children and Hearing Loss: Overcoming the Difficulties

The following is a guest post by John O’Connor. John is someone I can appreciate. He is a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out his new blog. -Dale

Although people tend to think of the elderly when they hear terms such as “hearing loss” or “hearing aids,” many of those affected by hearing loss are quite young. In fact, some babies are born with hearing loss. Others begin to lose their hearing as toddlers or during grade school. As the number of Americans affected by hearing loss grows, the number of children affected also increases. Currently, roughly eight percent of Americans with severe to profound hearing loss are under the age of 18. Further, about 15 percent of all children aged six to 19 experience some hearing loss in either high or low frequencies.

The children affected by hearing loss face a number of challenges. Many young children who are hard of hearing have difficulties learning to speak or to pronounce new words. They may also struggle academically, especially in areas of language arts as their hearing problems make it difficult to learn new vocabulary, understand grammar, learn verb tenses and so on.

Like adults with hearing difficulties, children with hearing loss often benefit from the use of hearing aids. The small microphones within these devices amplify sounds, which are then carried directly to the wearer’s ear. Other children with hearing loss will do best by communicating non-verbally. Children with hearing loss often use sign language, a formal collection of hand gestures, to communicate with family, friends and teachers.

Despite the trials of hearing loss, many people have been able to overcome their hearing loss and have accomplished much. From the age of 12, Thomas Edison struggled with a serious loss of hearing. Rather than feeling bad for himself, he considered this condition a gift that helped him avoid becoming distracted while working. He went on to invent the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph and over 1,000 other things that made life better for people all over the world.

Today, actress Marlee Matlin has an Oscar, a Golden Globe and multiple Emmy nominations to her credit. When she was only 18 months old, however, she lost nearly all her hearing. With the loving support of her family, she didn’t let hearing loss impair her personal goals. She says about herself, “I am a person who just happens to be deaf.”

Hearing loss in children comes with challenges to be overcome, just like many other things in life as well. These challenges, however, need not turn into tragedies. With loving encouragement, children with hearing loss can be successful at many things. If your child faces such a difficulty, help him or her to face it with positivity and determination. Success will come.


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