My child has a hearing loss
Whether your child’s deafness has only just been diagnosed, or they have become deaf in childhood, we’re here for you. In the UK, half of deaf children are born deaf and the other half develop deafness during childhood.
The majority of deaf children have hearing parents who have no previous experience of deafness, so for some families, when they are told their child is deaf or losing their hearing, it can come as a great shock.
Some parents may be upset by the news, others may be relieved that their suspicions have finally been confirmed. There is no right or wrong way to feel and it’s important to take the time to adjust, to look after yourself and consider how you're feeling.
There is support out there for both you, as a parent, and for your deaf child.
“When we were first given the diagnosis we felt relief, but I also felt guilty that we’d let our son down for all those years. We could have been angry about the late diagnosis but there’s no point looking backwards, and ever since, audiology has been brilliant.”
Meeting other families with deaf children and young people can be invaluable and when you feel the time is right, you may want to:
- read about other families’ experiences of having a child with a hearing loss or chat with other families on Facebook or in our Families magazine
- join a local deaf children's society to meet other families in your area. If you’re unable to attend a local group, you can still join and receive local information and updates
- attend one of our free information days.
The ways that your child will cope with their deafness will vary greatly. An older child or teenager may take a long time to accept their deafness, whereas a younger child will probably take it all in their stride.
If you have a good understanding of your child’s deafness, it will help you when you’re explaining it to them.
Although many children will develop a positive attitude towards their deafness, your child might be feeling frightened, angry, confused or depressed at first, so it’s important that you give them time to understand how their deafness will affect their life, and to talk about how they’re feeling.
They may need some additional emotional support to come to terms with their hearing loss – speak to your GP about any concerns you have about your child’s wellbeing.
If your child has become deaf quite suddenly, you may find that their behaviour has changed. Their attention span may be shorter, or they may have temper tantrums or become clingy.
For some, this may be as a result of frustration caused by difficulties communicating, or for others, be related to having been through a serious illness. If your child has had a hearing loss for a while but it’s only just been diagnosed, they might have been showing these behaviours for a long time.
Other children in the family may also become unsettled if your child is getting a lot of the family’s time and attention so ensure you explore with them what they're feeling too.
After your child is identified as deaf, they will be regularly seen at their local audiology clinic. Have a look at our section on your child's audiology service for information on what audiology clinics do and transferring to adult audiology services.
You can also read about what standards your child's audiology clinic should be working to and what to do if you’re unhappy with the service your child is receiving.
Your child might need extra support from their school or nursery. This could mean that your child has special educational needs (SEN) (the term most commonly used by education services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or additional support needs (ASN) (the term more commonly used in Scotland).
Have a look at our section on additional support at school for further information.
Equipment and technology can help deaf children and young people at home, school or college and when they’re out and about, from listening to music to waking them up in the morning.
There are a number of sources of financial support for a family with a deaf child, or for a deaf young person, including Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
“We use the money to pay for petrol and parking costs for journeys to hospital.”
Are you concerned about how being deaf might affect your child’s life as they grow up? With the right support your child will be happy and achieve many things.
Have a look in our My Deafness Didn't Stop Me and Role Models sections to see all the amazing things deaf young people are doing. You could also take a look at our Youtube channel for more inspiring stories.
“When he was diagnosed, questions went through my mind like ‘how’s he going to get a job?’ But now I’m better informed about deafness I know he can lead a normal life and there’s no limit to what he can achieve.”