Opponents of cochlear implants, or CI skeptics, or even those who are neutral but uninformed often parrot the lines that “Some people just don’t do well with cochlear implants.” They say, “Not everyone gets the same results.” I’ll agree with them on those statements — they’re right. Unfortunately, we do still see large variability in the speech, language, and listening outcomes of users of cochlear implants. Where the critics have it wrong, however, is that they portray these differences in outcome as largely due to chance — unexplainable phenomena that no one can predict or prevent. Myths continue to persist that the outcomes of cochlear implantation are “uncertain,” “risky,” or “a gamble.”
One of the most common questions I hear from parents is, “My child does XYZ. Is this due to the hearing loss?” I’ve heard all kinds of things — from the obvious (having difficulty hearing in noise) to the off-the-wall (preferring a certain food) — attributed to the child’s hearing loss. What drives this, and how can we help parents figure out if it’s a “kid thing” or a “hearing loss thing”?
Learning that your child has hearing loss can be a world-shaking event for parents. The truth is, though millions of people around the world have hearing loss, most parents have little prior experience with people who are deaf or hard of hearing before discovering that their child is suddenly a member of this group. Many people’s only experience with hearing loss is their hard-of-hearing grandfather whose hearing aids whistle all the time, or the person they’ve seen signing on TV, or even, sadly, deaf peddlers they’ve encountered on the street. In short, families are plunged into an entirely unfamiliar world.
When I tell people that my job is teaching children with hearing loss to listen and talk without the use of sign language, it usually stops people in their tracks for a minute. The first question I usually get is, “How?” which leads to a whole discussion about the auditory brain. The second most frequently asked question is, “So you teach lipreading, right?” Not exactly…
In a track and field competition, runners race around the track, jumping hurdle after hurdle in an attempt to be the first to the finish line. It’s an incredible sight. When we’re teaching children with hearing loss a new listening, speech, or language skill, however, we’re running a different kind of race. For optimum success, here’s my suggestion: choose just one hurdle.
When I began to offer teletherapy services, I wanted to make sure that my clients would be receiving treatment that was as good as in-person therapy. What I didn’t realize was that, in many cases, teletherapy could be even better than treatment in a brick-and-mortar location!
Imagine a sapling in a tiny greenhouse. The greenhouse is a small, protective place for new plants. The elements are controlled, the four walls all around block out the noise, and little plants are perfectly positioned to soak up all the benefits of this enriched environment.
When parents find out that their child has hearing loss, one of the first questions they ask is often, “Why?”
Some causes of hearing loss are easy to determine: the child has outer or middle ear malformations that are apparent in a visual examination, the mother had an illness known to cause hearing loss during pregnancy, or the child suffered some trauma at birth related to hearing loss (for example, many premature babies are given ototoxic drugs that keep them alive at the cost of damaging their hearing). But other cases are not so clear-cut.
The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Are you ready to hear your best in the whirl of party chatter, festive sounds, and seasonal noise? Here are some tips to help you hear your best and enjoy this wonderful season.