Preparing your child for surgery
Deaf children may need surgery for lots of reasons including:
- having grommets to help treat glue ear
- having a bone conduction hearing implant, cochlear implant, or another implant fitted
- having reconstructive surgery (such as with microtia)
- to remove disease from the ear (such as cholesteatoma)
- or for another reason not related to their ears or deafness.
Planned surgery can cause anxiety for many children. Good preparation before surgery can help your child feel less worried about the procedure and help them to recover more quickly.
Many hospitals have specialist play professionals or liaison nurses who will help prepare your child. This may involve using medically-themed toys, age-appropriate information, and a visit to the ward to help them familiarise themselves with what will happen.
Talk to other families for their experiences and tips
Post your questions to other parents on Facebook. If your child’s had surgery you could share your top tips with other parents or answer questions from parents who are anxious about their child’s upcoming surgery.
- Cheshire Mum has blogged about her and her son's experiences of glue ear – Don't say what, say pardon! – including the grommet surgery – Getting the Grommets Op.
- The Beetroot and Gherkins blog talks about a mum’s experience before and on the day of the grommet surgery.
We promote blogs we think might be of interest to you but the opinions expressed in them are not necessarily our own.
You could also find out if your local hospital has information to help your child cope with surgery and a stay in hospital. For example Great Ormond Street Hospital has information aimed at helping your young child, teenager or their siblings cope with surgery.
If your child is older, they might like to watch this video of deaf vlogger, Iona, sharing her top five tips for surgery.
These books are also useful for explaining surgery to your child.
Franklin Goes to the Hospital, Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press
“Franklin's shell has cracked, and he needs to be a brave turtle when it's time to go to the hospital.”
Going to the Hospital, Anne Civardi, Michelle Bates and Stephen Cartwright, Usbourne Publishing Ltd.
“Part of a series introducing young children to unfamiliar situations in a friendly way.”
Peppa Pig: Peppa goes to hospital, Ladybird Books Ltd.
“A lovely story that shows children that hospitals aren’t scary places.”
Maisy Goes to Hospital, Lucy Cousins, Walker Books
“Join Maisy, every toddler’s best friend, for her first experience of going to hospital.”
Widgit-Health and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust have produced a free booklet and flashcards using visuals and symbols to help you explain to your child what will happen at the hospital.
Download them for free from Widgit-Health.