To Hearing Parents with Deaf Children
I know you’re freaking out… here are some answers
Nothing is more devastating than discovering there is something wrong with your child. For nine months you have planned and prepared. Not only have you picked out a name, you have been dreaming of your child’s future hobbies, successes, dreams, and goals. Maybe he’ll be an all-star basketball player? Or she’ll become the entrepreneur you wished you could be? What if he is a musical prodigy? What if she is going to be a star actress?
Whatever the dream is, it all seems to shatter when you receive the news.
Your child is deaf.
You wonder how this can be. Through the entire pregnancy, your child seemed perfectly healthy. There weren’t any deaf people in your family. How did this happen?
Grief likely overcomes you as you realize that your child is not like you- will never quite be like you. How will he ever play basketball, or she run a company? It appeared impossible for him to become a musical prodigy, or her to become an actress.
All of these tumultuous thoughts eventually boils down to one heart-wrenching question:
What do we do now?
Deafness in America
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately “2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears,” and “more than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents.” This means that 9 out of 10 deaf children are born to people just like you, with no idea how to handle their deafness. You are not alone.
Worldwide, there are roughly 466 million people that have a disabling hearing loss, and 34 million of these are children. Surprisingly, this trend is going up in number, not down- it is estimated that by 2050, over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss (who.int).
While 60 percent of hearing loss in children is said to be preventable, there are a myriad of causes and it is rare to pinpoint one specific reason for your child’s deafness. Genetics, environment, complications at birth, diseases, chronic ear infections…