Parenting With Hearing Loss — The Bump
Special Needs

Parenting With Hearing Loss

I wasn't really sure where else to put this at and my Google-fu must be off, because it isn't really helping me to find up to date information on what I'm looking for. Please let me know if I should move this elsewhere! 

I have profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. I have hearing aids that help me function at an almost normal capacity, but there are still plenty of moments when it's clear that I don't have the same skills that others do when it comes to picking up/understanding certain sounds. So, naturally, when I first realized that I was pregnant, my first thought was to panic because what if I miss something important while I'm doing the dishes or something? Or what if my hearing aid battery dies while I'm home alone and sleeping and I don't pick up the sounds of LO crying and/or the monitor I have doesn't work well/isn't loud enough/etc. DH has normal hearing and will be able to help, but he works 12 hour night shifts, and I won't be able to rely on having someone else around on the nights he's not. 

Basically, what I'm wondering is if there are any other deaf/hoh parents out there, or hearing parents who have used alert products that aren't sound-based only, and how well the products/strategies they used worked for them. I've been looking into products found in mainstream stores (like Babies R'Us, etc) and at products at specialty stores (like Harris Communications), and there are just so many vague/mixed reviews that I'm starting to feel pretty overwhelmed. Picking out a car seat was easier!

In return, since this board seems to be mostly made up of parents of special needs children, and not parents with special needs of their own (once again, sorry - if there is somewhere else this needs to go that I've missed, please point me that way): for those of you that have children with hearing loss, what really helped me out as a kid was reading. It started out with my mom reading books to me every night, and as I got older and was able to follow along with the words more, she made me read them back to her. That made a huge difference in both my speech and speech comprehension levels (I wasn't born with the loss, but it happened right around the end of my language development skills as a small child). I'm not a medical professional or an expert in hearing/speech therapy (and I don't advocate using reading to replace either of those things), but as a person who has actually experienced what it's like to grow up with hearing loss, I would still say that this was the number one thing to help me as a hard-of-hearing person in a hearing world. 
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Re: Parenting With Hearing Loss

  • For the first while newborns have to be fed every 3 hours and I was worried I would sleep through my baby's cries so I set an alarm at night to wake me up. If you have an alarm you use, you could try that, then you know you won't miss a feeding. You could also try a video monitor. They have ones that you can use with your smart phone. You could even have your DH check in on baby on it on his breaks at work and have him call you if it seems like the baby is fussing and you might not have heard it.
    I don't have hearing loss, but hopefully this is helpful. 
  • You'll probably find the most helpful advice from other Deaf parents. For that, your local deaf services center may be the best bet. Where do you live? National Association of the Deaf or your state chapter,  assuming you're in the US, may not be quite as helpful but I bet they could point you in the right direction. 

    A couple of possibilities for vibrating monitors that you can clip to your belt that have positive reviews:

     Way back in the day, deaf moms would sleep near their babies and tie a string around baby's foot and the other end around mom's wrist so they could feel when baby started to fuss and move. The vibrating monitor doesn't come with the same strangulation hazard,  so I'd recommend that .
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  • Little late seeing this post, but I totally agree with PP and see if you can get some advice from other deaf parents. I'm hearing, but my daughter attends a school for the deaf, and we have met so many helpful people there. 

    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    Me-29 PCOS, pituitary adenoma, high prolactin.
    DH-33 low count.
    Not currently TTC.
    DD born August 2012 via IVF. HoH, aided, ASL/spoken English.

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