For New Parents

The audiologist has just told you that your child has a hearing loss. It is severe enough that your child needs hearing aids or a cochlear implant. Often, as parents, your first reaction is shock, followed by grief. While you will get caught up in doing the thousand and one things that need to be done over the following weeks and months, you will also be grieving.

  • The first thing I would like to tell you is that it is normal to grieve. Most parents, when told by their audiologist that their child has a hearing loss, go through emotional turmoil. The emotional spectrum includes denial, grief, guilt, anger, apprehension, and finally, acceptance of the fact. It may take days, weeks or months to stop grieving. Many parents say that while they recognize their child will be fine, they may never truly stop grieving.
  • The second thing I would like to tell you is that it is important to acknowledge your feelings and be able to express your emotions in a safe environment. Completing this grieving process will give you the clarity and ability to do what is right and necessary for your child. Parents grieve in different ways; some families find a safe environment in their extended family; some go to professional counselors and many get support from other parents of children with hearing loss. I strongly urge you to talk to other parents; they have been down this road before you, and you will find their support comforting, inspiring, and invaluable. See the Resources section for advocacy organizations who may be able to put you in touch with other parents. Online forums are another place to meet other parents.
  • The third thing that I would like to tell you is that you will be able to meet this challenge, and you will be able to do what is necessary and right for your child. I say this out of years of personal experience with many, many parents of children with hearing loss.
  • The fourth thing that I would like to tell you is that, more than anything else, it is what you do that is going to make the most difference to your child's success. I can assure you that the parents' role is not that of helpless onlookers but is one of active participants!

Coping with a child with hearing loss is often complicated by the fact that, during this time, you will have to make decisions about hearing aids, cochlear implants, mode of communication, etc. It is easy to get overwhelmed! Take a deep breath and tackle one thing at a time, one day at a time. Try not to make decisions when you are feeling very upset, and don't let other people make the decisions for you. Educate yourself -- read books, contact advocacy organizations, talk to professionals and parents -- and then make an informed decision. When you are ready, read the Step-by-Step instructions on this site. Believe me, you can do it!

A translation of this web page contents is available as a .pdf file in Arabic Danish Serbian