A child who is hard of hearing will typically find it challenging and frustrating to communicate with others. Even worse, those who don’t know the signs of hearing loss may assume the child is just being rude or inattentive and react negatively, making them shy away from interacting with others.
Other children might not understand what your child’s hearing loss means and they may make fun of them, causing them to become withdrawn. As a result, your child might have difficulties making friends or taking part in social activities and might end up struggling with anxiety and social isolation.
In order to grow mentally healthy and have meaningful interactions, it is important that your child learns how to overcome this isolation and build friendships, in spite of their hearing difficulties. Here are some ways you can help them do that:
Having a child with some degree of hearing loss can be disconcerting. The first step to ease your fear and uncertainty is to obtain helpful information on what this means for you and your child. There are a lot of resources out there that will go a long way towards educating you, easing your mind and helping you formulate a course of action to assist your child.
Find people in the same situation
Finding others in the same boat as you can relieve your anxieties and help you feel less alone in your experience. Other parents with children who are hard of hearing can share their experiences, tips and resources to build up your information databank.
Additionally, interacting with adults with hearing loss can give your child positive role models to look up to.
Facilitate lots of positive social experiences for your child
While it can be tempting to always shield your child from the world, it won’t help them grow. Instead, find ways to help them become comfortable enough to interact with others in different social situations and watch their self-confidence and self-esteem grow as they become more independent.
A good way to start is by leaving them with a caregiver or choosing an appropriate childcare for your child. You can also organize interactive play dates both with hearing and hard of hearing children so your child can learn to express himself.
Teach them useful social skills
Children who are hard of hearing need slightly different social skills from other children. For starters, if your child uses hearing aids or sign language, they need to be comfortable answering questions when other kids ask about them. They also need to learn non-verbal cues in order to better communicate with others.
Any kind of hearing loss is sure to affect communication and relationships, but as long as your child finds ways of reaching out to others and expressing themselves, friendships will form. These friendships may be different from those of other children and will require some work for the parties to understand each other. However what is important is that your child has a healthy social life with plenty of enriching relationships