Adjusting to your Child’s Diagnosis of Hearing Loss

When you learn your child has a hearing loss you may feel grief, shock, worry, anger, or sadness. It may feel that some of the dreams you had for your child have been taken away from you. This time can be stressful and marked with doubt.

It is normal to enter an adjustment process through which a final sense of peace can be achieved. Granting yourself the grief you may feel and being fully aware of it is hard but it is a useful process.

Below are descriptions of the stages you may encounter as you learn to accept your child’s diagnosis of hearing loss. You may find that you move from one stage to a new one and back again. Remember, it takes time to understand and accept the fact that your child has a hearing loss. As soon as you are able to do this, you can begin to focus on how to cope with it.

Denial
Denial means to dismiss what in fact has happened. It can provide a useful function. It can allow time to work through the early shock. It can also be harmful. It might cause delay in follow up or action needed for your infant or child.

Anger
You have a right to feel angry. You may wonder “Why my baby or child?” Your anger may be aimed at the experts who were involved in finding the hearing loss. It can also become a factor in your talking and dealing with other family members and experts.

Fear/Anxiety
Fear of the unknown is normal. Many unknowns about your child’s hearing loss may make you fearful. What will the future be like? Will my child learn to talk? Will my child go to college? Will the hearing loss get worse?

Guilt
You may have some feelings of guilt. What caused my child’s hearing loss? Is it something I did or did not do that has caused my child’s hearing loss? Feeling guilty implies you have the power to make things happen or to prevent things from happening. Keep in mind, there are many things in life over which you have no control.

Acceptance
Once you have a better understanding of hearing loss and become acquainted with other parents of children with hearing loss, you will learn that your child can have a normal, fulfilling life. It will become clear that your child can have a good future as a productive adult regardless of the communication mode that is chosen, or how severe your child’s hearing loss is.

Hope
After you have accepted your child’s hearing loss the hope that you feel for his or her future will become the driving force that provides you the means to make a plan of action to help your child succeed.

Adapted from Oticon’s Workbook for Parents of Children Who are Newly Identified as Hard of Hearing