Your child's hearing
Information for Parents on Unilateral Hearing Loss (UHL)
When your young son or daughter has been diagnosed with a unilateral hearing loss, it is not an easy time for families. The diagnosis often comes as a shock. Most parents know little about hearing loss in children and there is a lot to learn.
My daughter was diagnosed with a profound unilateral hearing loss in her left ear when she was 4. It did not come as a bolt out of the blue—she had been slow in talking—but the diagnosis consumed me for a while. I tried to imagine what the world must sound like to her. I thought of all the stories I had read to her that she had probably never heard properly and I thought of all the times I had whispered ‘I love you’ in her left ear. A thousand questions ran through my head – the biggest one being about starting school.
All of our stories are different. Whether we find out our baby has a hearing loss through newborn hearing screening or later in childhood, we need information and knowledge to guide us to make decisions and help us raise a happy, confident and independent young person. Living with unilateral hearing loss is different to living with a hearing loss in both ears or hearing in both ears and it is evident from the messages posted on the Aussie Deaf Kids online forum that finding information about unilateral hearing loss, its impact on a child and how to successfully manage the hearing loss has been difficult for families.
This is a guide to help lay the foundations for your child to grow into a healthy adult—a person who works, plays and loves. We have drawn on the current research on unilateral hearing loss as well as the experiences and thoughts of families who participate in the Aussie Deaf Kids online group.
I often think that the words of an old Bing Crosby song probably best describes the role of parents with a child with unilateral hearing loss:
‘You’ve got to accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative…’
This information has been compiled to help you achieve just this.Thank you to the parents in our online group who have shared their thoughts and wisdom. Aussie Deaf Kids could not have produced this information pack without the Inger Rice Foundation. We are very grateful for their support.
Founder, Aussie Deaf Kids
P.S. We have used the abbreviation UHL (unilateral hearing loss) throughout; it is a term you will become very used to.
The information in Sound Waves was developed by Aussie Deaf Kids, an organisation dedicated to improving the outcomes of children with a hearing loss by providing support and information to families raising a deaf child in Australia.
Thank you to Donna McDonald, Katy O'Callaghan, David Appleby and Alison King (Principal Audiologist, Paediatric Services, Australian Hearing) for their contribution to this resource for families.
Special thanks to the parents in our online group, Aussie Deaf Kids with Unilateral Loss, who have provided their experiences and insights into the information families need in the journey their child with a unilateral hearing loss.
© Aussie Deaf Kids 2010
You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered form only for distribution to families with a child with a unilateral hearing loss, your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation.
Disclaimer: This website is for general information only and is not intended as a substitute for independent professional advice.