Building your child's team: Creating a circle of support for hearing loss
Building a circle of professionals who you can establish strong, supportive relationships with is important as you advocate for the needs of your child with hearing loss.
As you begin to determine how best to support your child now that a diagnosis of hearing loss has been confirmed, it is these professionals who can assist you throughout this process. This team of professionals can serve as your foundation on your child’s road to hearing, offering you great value in the way of education, information and guidance.
- Start with the audiologist. The audiologist is likely to be the first professional you encounter and possibly the one who gave you the initial news regarding your child’s hearing loss. Throughout your child’s life, the audiologist will also be the professional who evaluates your child’s hearing and programs and manages their hearing solution(s).
- Your child’s pediatrician can refer you to a doctor who specializes in hearing loss once your child is diagnosed. This doctor will oversee your child’s overall health.
- Upon diagnosis of hearing loss, your child was likely referred to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, sometimes referred to as an otolaryngologist. The ENT specializes in childhood ear and hearing problems. Their initial role will be to determine the specific nature or cause of the hearing loss. The otolaryngologist may also serve as your child’s cochlear implant surgeon, providing medical care related to their hearing implant pre-operatively and post-operatively.
- An early intervention specialist can work with you in your home to guide you in understanding how hearing loss can impact your child’s speech and language development. This professional is typically someone with an education background. They will work closely with you by providing you with resources and activities you can do at home to facilitate building a foundation of skills that your child can use to improve their overall speech, language and auditory abilities. Additionally, they will provide you with information and support regarding your child’s educational needs in the future.
- A speech-language pathologist (SLP) will evaluate the impact of your child’s hearing loss on speech/language development, and monitor their progress over time. You may also work with an auditory-verbal therapist (AVT). Either therapist will teach you how to help your child learn to listen and talk.
There will likely be many other professionals that you work with over time. They too will become a part of your child’s team. As you encounter these professionals keep in mind you are your child’s best advocate. Keep communication open with all of the professionals that are on your child’s team and maintain a strong partnership with them.
Finally, as your hearing implant manufacturer, we are here for you every step of the way to provide you with ongoing support, resources and services.
Visit IWantYouToHear.com for more information on your child’s hearing loss.