Deaf Children: Coping with Hearing Loss

Hearing Elmo welcomes guest blogger, John O’Connor. John shares that hearing loss has been an important topic as his own father has hearing loss. He explains, “I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue of hearing loss and it is our job, or my job as someone who is close to the issue, to try and spread awareness when possible. Many people think that hearing loss only affects adults or elders. Since it is Better Hearing and Speech Month I thought it would be fitting to inform people on how hearing loss can affect anyone, even children.”

Hearing is essential for learning and communicating with others. Statistics show that two out of every 100 children have some degree of hearing loss. If kids cannot hear the world around them, they may experience delayed speech, language, academic and social development. What causes hearing loss, and how can deaf children overcome this obstacle?

Causes and Treatments

Early detection is the most important aspect of hearing loss treatment. Babies who are diagnosed with deafness before six months of age have a chance for better speech-language development. Older children who have a risk of hearing loss should be screened regularly. The earlier treatment begins; the sooner children can reach their full potential.

Most deaf children lose their hearing due to infections, genetic conditions, injuries or noise exposure amongst other reasons. Doctors use various diagnostic tools to test hearing in children. They often use behavior techniques to determine the type and degree of impairment.

Medicine or surgery can treat some types of hearing loss. Other types are best treated with hearing aids and speech-language devices. Children with profound deafness may benefit from cochlear implants.

Hearing Loss and Bullying

Some people consider children with hearing loss to be different in some way. Hearing aids and cochlear implants add to this perception. According to a “Boston Globe” report, a Swedish study found that one in five deaf children are victims of bullying. Those who are bullied often suffer from low self-confidence and self-esteem.

It is important for parents and school systems to support and protect hearing impaired children. These children need to know that there is nothing wrong with them. While their deafness poses definite challenges, it also presents an opportunity to overcome the challenges and succeed in their efforts to reach their goals and dreams.

Influential Deaf People

Deaf children have hopes and dreams just like all children. It is not impossible to make those dreams a reality. Just ask Nick Hamilton and Marlee Matlin.

Nick Hamilton did not let his hearing loss get in the way of his baseball career. Deaf since the age of three, Hamilton has turned to surgeries and hearing aids to help him cope with his deafness. In college, he became a star baseball player for Kent State. He now plays ball for the Cleveland Indians. He wears hearing aids on and off the field.

Marlee Matlin was almost completely deaf before her second birthday. The award-winning actress never let her disability interfere with her acting career. With the support of her family, she overcame her hearing loss challenges to become a well-known, working actress. In 1986, she won an Academy Award for her role in “Children of a Lesser God.”

Hearing loss can be a tough situation to deal with, but with the love and support of family and friends and a little belief anything is possible.  Many people famous or not have taken it amongst themselves to beat hearing loss and have gone on to pursue their passions in life.  Don’t let hearing loss stop you!

Hi my name is John O’Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out my new blog at!

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