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Making a Start

Notes for parents of newly diagnosed hearing impaired children

Nothing has changed

A funny thing to say first, but one of the most important for you and your child. Whatever has been said about your child's hearing, they are still the same child that they were before being tested.

They need you to be the same too - and that goes for the rest of the family. If you all start looking at them with long faces or let them break the rules you will worry them and they won't feel safe any more. So, treat them the same as you did before and wait until they have gone to bed before you talk things over with your family.

What can they hear?

It is very tempting to go home and try to “get them to respond” better than you saw them do at their test but a weekend of Mum calling their name for no reason, Dad knocking on the door and Granny banging pan lids behind them doesn't do any child much good. It will also make testing harder next time by making them less interested in sounds.

However, you can watch for sounds that interest them and make them happen again. Show them what has made the sound. The more interested they become in sounds, the better they will use their hearing.

Talking and learning

You and the family play the most important part in your child's life, and because of this they will learn more from you than anyone else. Your job is to give them the best possible chance to learn from you.

If one or two hearing aids have been prescribed you will receive help and advice from the visiting teacher as to how to manage them and ensure that your child makes the best use of them all the time.

To learn to talk and communicate, they need to see and hear you talk and communicate with them. You are the one who will tell them about their toys and their food, about what is happening in the home, the street or the park.

Cartoon woman child doing laundry

You won't need to buy special “educational” toys but you will need to spend time rather than money. The washing up will take a little longer if you stand them on a chair to “help” and talk to /communicate with them about what you are doing.

If you are naturally a quiet sort of person you may find talking and communicating is rather an effort at first, but it gets easier. If you have other children you will see that it is good for their language too.

You won't be alone

Cartoon of a woman and child enjoying reading together


The Hearing Impairment Team can offer you help from a visiting Teacher of the Deaf. The teacher can work with you to help your child's language and learning. No impossible demands will be made of you. The most important thing is for you and your child to enjoy being together, as you did before.

Most deaf children learn to talk, using hearing aids, and many families also use sign language to help their child to communicate. You can talk with your visiting Teacher of the Deaf about communication choices. If you want to learn sign language, the Hearing Impairment Team has a Deaf Instructor who can teach you at home.

Cartoon family group

‘New to Deafness Group’

The Hearing Impairment Team's parent/carer and baby/toddler group meets during term time, by arrangement : Contact to find out more. The group will give you and your child a chance to meet other deaf children and their families. We also offer family training.



Developing Early Listening Skills

Singing Together Cartoon showing three musical notes

When we sing, we use a louder voice than when speaking which is easier to hear and lip reading can be clearer.

Simple songs with actions e.g. ‘Wind the bobbin up’, Incy wincy spider, The wheels on the bus, Row row row the boat.

Cartoon of a colourful xylophone with musical notes floating above

When you know the songs well, try leaving gaps and see if your child can add the word or action

Cartoon of a bright red bus with "tours" written on the side

Starting to Listen

Make it easier to listen by cutting down on background noise e.g. turn off the TV when you're not watching it.

Tell your child when a noise is about to happen e.g. the letters coming through the letterbox, the washing machine is about to start.

Cartoon close-up of a washing machine full of colourful laundry

Bring sounds around the home to your child's attention and show your child what is making a noise.

Making Sounds Fun

Mimic the sounds your child makes – take turns.

Make expressive sounds when playing or sharing books, such as animal or vehicle noises.

Cartoon of a woman and small child reading together

Play together with noisy or musical toys: turn them on and off, say ‘listen’ or ‘gone’, hide a toy making a noise and go with your child to look it.

Make ‘music’ with saucepans and wooden spoons, boxes, shakers made from containers filled with dried beans or gravel.

Cartoon of a red toy drum