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Raising a Hearing Impaired Child | What You Need To Know.


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Giving advice on child-rearing is easy, and there is no shortage of experts. Advice is usually based, however, upon several wrong assumptions; that these techniques can be taught, and that teaching the techniques to parents will be beneficial to their children. When you have and raise a deaf child, your sense of parental competence can be impaired by conflicting or insensitive advice.

It seems appropriate that hearing parents should get the same enjoyment from their deaf child as deaf parents do: through acceptance, easy communication, and a balance that satisfies everyone’s needs. Deafness is an issue that must be dealt with regardless of what part of the world you reside in. For example Australia handles a charity that supports young deaf and hard of hearing  people in Australia.


Effects on the Parents


A child with special needs, such as hearing impairment, poses challenges to any family’s integrity. It is usually the mother, however, who is most heavily burdened.

The mother is usually the parent who visits the experts, who works hard with the child, and who undergoes the most changes in feeling and understanding.

Other experts has stated that most “parent education” is really “mother education.” If the father works during the day, it is more difficult for him to participate in activities that take place during working hours.

He is less likely to visit professionals or clinics with his child. Gradually the mother becomes relatively better informed. An imbalance in family roles can result. Some of the recommendations many professionals make can place parents in uncomfortable or unwelcome positions.

For example, by “instructing” them we may remind them of unpleasant school experiences. By pointing out potential problem areas, we may increase some parents’ worries. Finding out how to do everything to the recommended extent and yet to balance everyone’s needs, including your own, is a great challenge!

There are no simple formulas: “Raising children was, is, and always will be a mission of love….Basically, what is indispensable to your children is learning to live in harmony with themselves and others.

Short of teaching your child sign language, you must always exhibit some type of good communication with the child.

If the parents had marriage problems before their child arrived, the deaf child’s presence may aggravate these problems. Overall, however, separation and divorce are not more common among parents of deaf children.

Researchers ran relationship studies regarding them and their deaf child. In both of these studies, parents were asked how the presence of the deaf child had affected  their marriages.

The replies were about equally divided between good and bad effects. (It should be noted that separation and divorce are only crude measures of the impact of a deaf child on a marriage.)

In raising a deaf child, financial burdens may also be increased. In some countries medical care, hearing aids and batteries can require a considerable sum of money. The family may have to move to be closer to a special school or other services, and may have to pay for certain special programs.

Effects on Siblings


Brothers and sisters (siblings) may also be affected by your child’s deafness. If too much attention is paid to the deaf child, normal rivalry and jealousy may be intensified. There are several ways in which problems may arise.

Raising a Hearing Impaired Child | What You Need To Know.

Siblings both suffering from partial hearing loss

Hostility may be shown directly; this is common in young children. Frequent battles may occur.

A more indirect expression of the need for attention is for the hearing child to wish to be deaf too. It may be helpful to periodically assess whether your hearing children are receiving enough attention and encouragement.

Resentment can occur and is best handled by seeking it’s source. If your hearing children are encouraged to reveal their feelings freely. it will be easier to discover whether a problem exists.

(Much the same recommendation could be given for treating deaf children, too.) A still more indirect manifestation of attention seeking is excessive devotion to the parents’ cause (deafness), so that the hearing sibling becomes a kind of substitute parent.

The hearing child may feel that the only way to gain acceptance is to enter the field of deafness later as a professional that study hearing loss symptoms in children.

How is it possible to tell whether a hearing child’s interest in deafness is excessive? One indication is the suppression of all normal hostility and rivalry.

Another sign is when the hearing child’s interest are deliberately and repeatedly sacrificed. There’s nothing wrong with sacrifice, but no ordinary deaf child benefits from being treated as if he were helpless or unable to tolerate any frustration.

At the start, young brothers or sisters may not realize what is expected of them and may overdo for their deaf sibling, just as relatives may. It is really a question of whether the deaf child is truly made a member of the family. If a normal family relationship exists, then no one will be expected to be perfect or to always give up things in favor of anyone else.

Effects on Relatives


Raising a Hearing Impaired Child | What You Need To Know.

Grandma with deaf grandson

Relatives may be an important source of support for parents, and they may also supply emotional warmth and wisdom to deaf children. However, relatives may also be a serious problem.

Grandparents are often in a dilemma: although they feel sympathy for their own children ( the deaf child’s parents) and for their grandchild, they have little opportunity to participate in the experiences that gradually lead to parental acceptance of deafness.

They usually have no (or outmoded) knowledge of deafness and their responsibility for their deaf grandchild may be limited to baby-sitting. It is not surprising that many grandparents remain at the level of denying deafness or searching for miraculous cures.

It is then difficult for the child’s parents (who are still children to their own parents) simultaneously to maintain good relationships with their child, with each other, with the experts, and with the grandparents. (Similar situations may obtain for other relatives.)

Studies have shown that it is wise for professionals to inquire about the importance of relatives to each family. What are relatives’ attitudes toward deafness and toward the management methods advised? Have their relationships with the parents changed for better or for worse?

It often seems worthwhile to involve important relatives in some contacts with professionals, providing that this is desired by all concerned. It is unfortunate that efforts of this kind are so rarely made.


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Author:Ronald Kennedy

Ron attended the Art institute of Chicago in 1980 and Harold Washington College in 1997. He graduated from Malcolm X College in May, 2000 majoring in 'Hearing Loss in America' and 'Children with Hearing Disabilities Around the World' (Ron has another interesting website, https://lovefolks.com regarding Love, Dating & Relationship). A Graduate of Malcolm X College in 2000 with an associate's degree in applied science, Ron also worked with the 'Chicago Area Autopsy Service' which is affiliated with the Medical Examiners Office, near downtown Chicago. The service covered all the local and suburban hospitals when reports of a death is called in.

8 responses to “Raising a Hearing Impaired Child | What You Need To Know.”

  • Vitaliy April 28, 2017 at 11:59 am Reply 

    Hi Ron
    Thank you very mush for addressing such a big issue that exists in our society. I can only imagine how hard it is to rise a deaf child especially together with other children in the family. Dealing with psychological problems along with medical conditions is quite a challenge.
    Ron, your website can make a big positive impact for many families for years to come.

    • Ronald Kennedy April 29, 2017 at 12:00 pm Reply 

      Thank you Vitaliy for commenting. Yes, I agree this is a very serious issue that affects many families, not only here but around the world. Maybe technology isn’t as great in other countries as here in the U.S., but the same issues and situations exist among people. That’s why I feel that only through sufficient and detailed information, families can experience having that additional guidance in regards to raising a hearing child along with a non-hearing one.

      Once sign language is taught to both siblings, open lines of communication would be better established. These additional skills should be acquired among all family members. I feel this would help diminish any psychological issues that would arise. It also wouldn’t hurt to work closely with the health care professional as well, gathering as much info as possible.

      Thanks again Vitaliy for dropping by. Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

  • VHayes2 April 28, 2017 at 12:03 pm Reply 

    This post really touched my heart. My son was almost deaf for his whole first year. Everyone else seemed to notice except me. He was reacting to me. I did notice that his language was reverting back to baby babble and that concerned me. My husband went crazy with anger toward me over the hearing problems our son was experiencing and everything I suggested we do was preposterous to him. Finally I was able to get him to agree to take our son to an ENT. Once I was able to get my husband to calm down, we were able to talk about what we would do to help our son, if he did turn out to be deaf. However, our family, or rather his family, was not very responsive to the fact that our son could be deaf. Luckily, our son just needed to have tubes put in and is now fine. He has a speech delay that I am working with him on and he is also going to speech therapy for. But it could have went the other way. I really like this post!!!!

    • Ronald Kennedy April 30, 2017 at 1:24 pm Reply 

      Hi VHayes and thanks for stopping by. I’m happy you found value in this post and enjoyed it. First of all, I feel you done as much as you could to help your son. You discovered you son’s issue when you did. It doesn’t help matters much with the anger display by your husband and his lashing out towards you. In situations like what’s going on in your family, there should be some form of working together regarding your son’s health. Both sides of your families should work together.

      I’m disappointed with your husbands actions? What the hell is his problem!! Yelling and screaming will not solve anything! At least, you guys did showed some togetherness by taking your son to an ENT and found that ear canal tubes would solve his problem. I’m glad that all worked out.

      Continue to work with your son and his therapy (together, with your husband I hope), and give him the support he needs. VHayes, You know I was thinking it wouldn’t hurt that you, your husband or any other family member learn sign language. It’s easy and I strongly recommend it. This program is called “Rocket Languages.” Try it for Free and you’re under No obligation.

      Good luck to you and your family. Let me know how the program is working for you. Also, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns.

  • Marcia June 11, 2017 at 5:09 pm Reply 

    What a fantastic and informative site!
    I think all children should be taught sign language! I wish you well in what you are doing. I have learned a lot on your page. The video is excellent, with tips we can all use, should we come into contact with hearing impaired children or indeed adults.
    I will recommend your site to my friends, without question!

    • Ronald Kennedy June 12, 2017 at 1:14 am Reply 

      Hello Marcia and thank you for commenting. I’m really glad you found some value in my site. In my other articles, I’ve said repeatedly that it wouldn’t hurt if adults learn sign and then taught this special skill to their non-deaf children. Step by step, little and little, parents should absorb in as much knowledge as they possibly can regarding the techniques of mastering this skill.

      With most hearing children learning sign, they’ll be better able to communicate with deaf or hearing impaired children in the deaf community. I have other related pages that offer some training on signing and how certain key words are formed.

      I’m glad that you also liked the video, which expands more on hearing impairment and how to coup. Marcia, millions of children and adults are effected with hearing loss all over the world. This is why it take writings such as this to bring more awareness to this devastating illness.

      Thank you again Marcia for checking in and sharing my page. Let me know if I can help you with anything else. 

  • Carol April 20, 2018 at 6:44 pm Reply 

    I know of three different families who have kids with the problem. The daily routine for them is really challenging. In each case, none of the parents expected it, and early signs were missed. Of course, each diagnosis was quite shocking to the parents being the first in each family. What is the first warning sign parents should be aware of?

    • Ronald Kennedy April 21, 2018 at 4:31 am Reply 

      Thanks for coming by, Carol. It’s not surprising to me when you stated knowing three different families dealing with hearing impaired children. (I know they have a big job, everyday, on their hands). It’s probably frustration  brewing everyday!

      No one knows what’s coming when a child is born into the world. We have to just ‘play the hand’ God deals us. Every diagnosis you’re about to receive from the medical staff will leave you jittery. Now with better advanced technology regarding hearing loss, things aren’t bad as they seem and the outcome is brighter. 

      In regards to your question, the first sign to look out for is ‘a child’s response.’ If you’re standing behind him or her and you call them, do they turn their head? I feel this is the very first sign.

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