What does it mean to be Deaf or Hard of Hearing?

Deafness or being Hard of Hearing comes in lots of different shapes and sizes. Everyone is different. Even when two people have similar audiograms they may respond differently to sound, hearing aids, cochlear implants, have varying degrees of speech, etc. There are also many different causes for hearing loss–genetics, drug therapy, age-related, conductive losses, central auditory processing disorders, and many others.

Your child may have a hearing loss in one or both ears. If one ear is affected, this is called a Unilateral Hearing Loss. If both ears are affected, this is called Bilateral Hearing Loss.

One of the first things you should do if you suspect your child is not hearing, is to have an audiogram done by a qualified audiologist (preferably one that works with children on a regular basis). This is a test that can determine the extent of the deafness.

The other thing you can do is not panic! Raising a deaf or hard-of-hearing child can provide you with some of the most wonderful opportunities to learn a new language if you choose to sign with your child, meet some great people and make lifelong friends, and truly see just what a strong, smart child you’ve brought into this world!

If your child is below the age of 3, there is a book put out by the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard Hearing Commission called “Experiencing The Journey”.  It has lots of good information for parents of newly diagnosed infants and toddlers to helpyou navigate the Early Intervention system in Illinois and get your child the services he/she needs.

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One Response

  1. What part of the state do you live in Kimberly? Try to find another mom who you can connect with to go through the “journey” together. Go to the DHS (Department of Human Services) website http://www.dhs.state.il.us/ and at the botom of the page is an “office locator”. Search for the Early Intervention office in your county. Also, connecting with your school district as early as possible (whether or not the school district provides them to you) is paramount!

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