Hearing loss is more common than you might think. About 36 million Americans suffer from some measure of hearing loss. But when your child suffers from hearing loss, it can be difficult to feel as if you have options at first.
There are varying degrees of hearing loss that people may experience. While some may have total hearing loss from birth, others suffer from progressive hearing loss or partial hearing loss. It can be difficult to see the benefits of having your child diagnosed with hearing loss, though it’s often easier for children who are born with hearing loss or develop it during infancy to adjust to living with this disability. Adults, in comparison, may have more difficult transitions.
Hearing loss doesn’t have to be a limitation, but it does present some challenges. Children with hearing loss may experience difficulty in communicating, such as a lack of clarity or issues with speech patterns. They may also feel isolated from peers who don’t understand how to properly communicate with them. This is why it’s important to work with a pediatric physical therapist to help your child. Below are some of the issues that these physical therapists can help children with hearing loss resolve or cope with.
1. Speech Problems
Pediatric physical therapists can assist children with hearing loss cope with speech issues. It’s quite common for children with hearing loss to deal with speech problems; people without hearing loss problems may find it difficult to understand the types of speech challenges faced by people that cannot hear themselves talk. As children, in particular, learn how to speak, it’s easy for them to develop consistent issues that make it difficult for others to understand them. This can leads to socialization problems.
It’s often easier for children to deal with such speech problems when pediatric physical therapists lead through speech correction therapy. While even relatives can sometimes become frustrated or use incorrect methods when working on speech clarity problems, professional speech therapists are able to use strategies that ensure a gentle learning experience and progress.
2. Balance Issues
Again, many of those without hearing loss do not understand the many ways in which it can affect individuals. Lots of people with hearing loss, especially young children who are learning how to walk and develop their motor skills, struggle with balance. It’s hard for them to walk without falling and they may even have difficulty judging distances. Their spatial awareness can be compromised as a result of their disability.
A pediatric physical therapist makes it easier for children to walk and confront their surroundings. Furthermore, physical therapists can also help children who have developed fear due to their balance problems regain their confidence. This makes it easier for them to interact with the world as they grow older, which is the goal of much of this physical therapy.
3. Sensory Processing
The world can be a scary place when you’re living without one of the basic senses. Furthermore, our society is not very accommodating to those with hearing loss. Therefore, children with hearing loss often develop sensory processing issues. This leaves these children feeling alienated.
Much of the goal of pediatric physical therapy for children with hearing loss involves making it easier for children to interact with others. Therapies help children cope without forcing them to act as if they don’t have hearing loss. This is something that pediatric physical therapists are specially trained in.
Again, confronting the problems that impede communication is key for children with hearing loss. But more specifically, physical therapists also focus on creating communication strategies for them. Some children with hearing loss rely entirely on sign language, while others are able to speak, as well.
Physical therapists can also work with family members to ensure that they can communicate with their children in turn. The issue that can often arise is a focus on the child — not just their surroundings and the people around them.
It can be easy to feel as if hearing loss is a barrier for your child. But, in fact, children with hearing loss can cope and live in the world much like all other children. They simply need to be helped in their progression.