One of the questions that we often hear from parents with hearing loss is, “How does my hearing loss affect my children?” Parents tend to be concerned that their children may not have a “normal” life because of their hearing loss. Fortunately, there are lots of resources available to help us deal with issues related to children and hearing loss.
Here’s our coverage of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program.
August 2012 – Research center to improve reading in children with hearing loss
June 2012 – Ethics of Designing a Deaf Baby
June 2012 : How to Understand a Child When You Can’t Hear Them: Tips from a Lipreading Mom
May 2012 – Teaching a Deaf Child Her Mother’s Tongue
June 2010 – Kids with hearing loss in one ear fall behind in language skills
February 2010 – New Website for Teens with Hearing Loss Launched
September 2009 – BHI Urges Teachers to Help Children with Unaddressed Hearing Loss
April 2009 – Teaching a Deaf Child to Hear and Speak
October 2008 – Cued Speech Version of Software for Teaching Phonics to Deaf Children
September 2008 – Major NIH grant supports childhood hearing loss research
September 2008 – The Portis Parking Lot Adventure
August 2008 – Untreated Hearing Loss Puts Children at Risk, BHI Warns
January 2008 – Untreated Hearing Loss Impacting American Youth
October 2007 – Kit Provides Help for Parents of Children with Hearing Loss
July 2006 – Have you ever wondered what life is like for kids raised by parents with hearing loss?Â Here with one parent’s reflections on the topic is Denise Portis.
June 2006 – Hearing-impaired children gain help
June 2006 – AG Bell Says Parents of Deaf Kids Not Getting Required Information
November 2004 – So what are some of the implications of having a deaf child? Here’s an article that discusses the findings of a couple of researchers.
The 1999 ALDACon included a workshop entitled “ALDAmoms”, in which late-deafened women discussed their experiences as mothers. It is fascinating reading.
Research center to improve reading in children with hearing loss
For many years, parents and educators have been concerned about the low levels of readingskills of some children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The College of Education (COE) at Georgia State University (GSU) is planning to change that. GSU has just been awarded a $10 million grant in order to establish the first national researchcenter that focuses on improving the reading skills of children with hearing loss. According to Gallaudet University’s report,Reading Research & Deaf Children, deaf children only achieve a Grade 3 or Grade 4 reading level on average by the age of 18. Studies show that hearing loss does impact reading skills, with children with mild hearing loss tending to have higher reading levels than children with more profound hearing loss.
Ethics of Designing a Deaf Baby
Audiologists are devoted to helping people hear better, so it will likely come as a shock to learn that some parents prefer that their babies be born deaf. So-called designer deafness is the idea behind conceiving a deaf child via preimplantation genetic diagnosis or by selecting a sperm or egg donor with a strong family history of deafness. A deaf couple from Maryland, Candace McCullough and Sharon Duchesneau, made headlines in 2002 when they spoke with The Washington Post about their decision to seek out a deaf sperm donor. (The Washington Post March 31, 2002.) (See FastLinks.) The donor had generations of deafness in his family, and Ms. McCullough and Ms. Duchesneau wanted to ensure that their children, Jehanne and Gauvin, would also be deaf. It’s not illegal in the United States to use assisted reproductive technology to try to conceive a deaf child, though the couple was turned down by several sperm banks before turning to a family friend.
Teaching a Deaf Child Her Mother’s Tongue
Most babies are born into the culture and community of their families. If the family is Latino or Tatar or Han Chinese, so is the baby. The baby learns the family’s language – “the mother tongue.” Culture and language are passed down from parents to child. Except when the child is born deaf. I am the mother of two daughters, both diagnosed deaf within their first weeks of life. My husband and I, both hearing, faced complicated decisions from the very start. Our babies needed exposure to language immediately (unlike hearing babies, they heard nothing in the womb), and we needed to make choices. Most parents simply whisper and coo to their children in their native tongues. We had to decide – and quickly – what our daughters’ native tongue would be. Should we try to get our daughters access to spoken language through hearing technology, or to immerse them (and ourselves) in American Sign Language, or to try to do both?