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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

January 12, 2021, Christina Tijerina
Hearing Loss vs. Not Listening
Hearing Loss vs. Not Listening

Trying to find the balance between successful parenting and a happy child can be tough at any age. Imagine, on top of that, thinking your child is not listening to you, when, in fact, she is unable to hear everything.

After many years and several doctors, at the age of 11 my daughter was diagnosed with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder, which means sound isn't properly transmitted from the inner ear to the brain. Being a mother to a child who has auditory neuropathy definitely has its struggles. However, before finding out that there was a real concern, I thought my daughter was just a typical shy little girl. Looking back, I missed little signs I see now. Yelling from one room to another and not understanding why she had not come out yet. Being in a crowded room and my daughter suddenly became shy when someone asked her questions and I had to repeat them to her in her ear. 

I remember when she received her first pair of hearing aids and she sang in the car. I remember she laughed because her own voice sounded “weird.” I remember she did not know that wind actually made noise or that birds chirped. With her new hearing aids, she was able to explore a whole new world, fully understanding and laughing at knock-knock jokes and realizing “bride and groom” wasn’t “bride and broom.”

I have been learning new ways to communicate with my daughter so she does not miss what is being said. The simple things seem to help her the most:

  • Cutting out background noises when speaking to her.
  • Facing her when speaking.
  • Taking turns to speak (it is hard for my daughter keep up with who is talking if we do not take turns).
  • Using American Sign Language to communicate as necessary.

Learning that your child is hard of hearing can be tough on any parent, but for me it was relief that came with an understanding of who my daughter is and what I can do as a parent to help her become more confident.

Now, because I have a better understanding, before getting upset I ask myself: Why am I repeating myself? Did I have her full attention? Did the background noise cancel out my question? Was I facing her when I was speaking?

I also know and recognize that sometimes when I do have to repeat myself, like reminding her over and over that socks go in the hamper and not on her floor, it’s more of a teenager thing!

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