Parent of a Child with Hearing Loss
Next Steps for Parents
Parents may have questions when they learn their child is deaf or hard of hearing. Take these steps to help your child.
1. Enroll in Early Intervention
If your baby is between birth and 3 years old, contact Early On®. 1-800-Early On. Do not delay.
Early On offers early intervention services for children from birth to 3 years of age, who have developmental delays and/or disabilities. They see babies and toddlers with hearing loss, including mild and unilateral (one-sided).
Experts consider hearing loss or deafness in babies and young children a developmental emergency. Research has shown that by addressing delays early - especially between birth and age 3 - we can improve a child's development into adulthood.
If your child is between 3 and 5 years old, contact Build Up Michigan. 1-888-320-8384 or visit www.buildupmi.org.
If your child is over 5 years old, contact your local intermediate school district.
2. Learn From Others
Learn from all of these people and resources:
- Medical providers.
- Other parents of children with hearing loss..
- Individuals who grew up deaf or hard of hearing.
Michigan Hands & Voices™ can connect you with other parents, professionals, and individuals who grew up deaf or hard of hearing.
What is Michigan Hands & Voices™?
Michigan Hands & Voices supports families of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, regardless of communication mode or language. They believe all children can reach their full potential. The non-profit offers events, trainings, and programs. Please visit www.mihandsandvoices.org.
Michigan Hands & Voices provides the Guide By Your Side™ program.
What is the Guide By Your Side™ Program?
In the Guide By Your Side program, a family of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing visits with a Parent Guide. Parent Guides are experienced parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. This program is free to all Michigan families.
Visit with your Parent Guide as soon as possible. The visits can help with feelings of uncertainty. They can also help you get the most from appointments.
The Guide By Your Side ™ Program can provide:
- Unbiased support.
- Free visits with you in your home.
- Initial free membership in Michigan Hands & Voices.
- Free copy of the Family Notebook.
- Practical solutions to everyday challenges.
- Introduction to individuals who grew up deaf or hard of hearing.
- Connections to resources.
- Guidance for working with professionals.
- Experience will different levels and causes of deafness or hearing loss.
What Parents Say…
"I had so many questions about day-to-day things, and she had so many answers.”
"Finally, someone understood what I was feeling because she had felt this way too.”
"Talking to another parent who has ‘been there' is very helpful."
How can I enroll in the Guide By Your Side™ Program?
Call or text 248-845-8762 or go to www.mihandsandvoices.org.
3. Understand what your medical providers do.
What is an otolaryngologist?
Otolaryngologists are medical doctors trained to treat disorders of the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. They are sometimes called ENT doctors (ear, nose, and throat). Make sure your ENT specializes in young children. An ENT may be able to determine the cause of the hearing loss, recommend potential treatments, and give clearance for hearing aids.
Who can help get my child get hearing aids?
An audiologist will measure hearing, and fit and sell hearing aids. It is important to choose an audiologist with extensive experience with young children. If you cannot find one near you please contact EHDI at 517-335-8878.
Does insurance cover hearing aids?
Contact your insurance company and ask if they cover hearing aids. If they do not, Children Special Health Care Services might help cover the cost. Visit www.michigan.gov/CSHCS or contact your local public health department.
4. Build your child’s communication skills.
It is very important to communicate with your child starting at birth. Use speech, sign language, touch, and more. Children can develop communication skills in many different ways. Learn about communication options. Each child is unique. You can choose the right approach for your child. Call Michigan Hands & Voices for more information and support. 248-845-8762. www.mihandsandvoices.org