Whether your child has hearing loss or not, it’s normal to worry about their wellbeing. It’s important to you that your child has a healthy, thriving social life, but for many children with hearing loss, it can be difficult to overcome communicative challenges and make friends. Below we’ve compiled a list of tips to help your child develop essential social skills and connections they’ll need as they navigate life.
The Early Years
From when your child is a baby until they start school, we recommend the following strategies for fostering social development:
- Schedule playdates. Meeting up with other families who have kids near your child’s age is helpful in many ways. Children need to be around their peers in order to learn how to socialize, and they also need to watch you interact with other adults to learn what positive interactions look like.
- Create an auditorily friendly environment. People with hearing loss, even if they wear hearing aids or use a cochlear implant, tend to struggle to have conversations when background noise is present. When your child is socializing with siblings, cousins or friends, make sure you keep TV and radio volume low and reduce other background noise as much as possible so they’ll get the most from their interactions.
- Educate other parents. Talk to other parents about your child’s hearing loss, what treatment methods you’re using, what communication strategies are useful and what your goals are for their development. This helps de-stigmatize hearing loss and also teaches the parents to know how to talk to their child about their friend’s hearing loss and communicative needs.
The School Years
Once your child is school-age, we recommend…
- Meeting families of classmates. Connecting with other families in your child’s class is a great way to foster strong friendships, which often opens the door to other friend groups as well.
- Enrolling in after-school activities. Put your child in extra-curricular activities they’re interested in so they can meet peers who share their interests.
- Talking to your child’s teacher. Educating your child’s instructor about their hearing loss and what they need in the classroom to succeed is important for your child’s learning. Ask the teacher to reach out if they ever have any concerns about your child’s performance or wellbeing.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Gulf Coast Audiology today.