According to the March of Dimes, 3 in 1,000 babies each year are born with congenital hearing loss or deafness. This hearing loss can be caused by genetic and non-genetic factors. Genetic factors are thought to cause up to 50 percent of hearing loss in infants and young children due to the mutations of as many as 400 genes. Non-genetic causes include illness or injury such as rubella during the mother’s pregnancy. In many cases, the cause of an infant’s hearing loss is unknown.
If your baby has been diagnosed with hearing loss or deafness you may be frightened about teaching your child to communicate. The best and first step you should take is to educate yourself. Communicating with your child is important. It will help her develop her language skills and grow into an independent adult. In many ways, you can begin communicating with your child just the same as you would a child without hearing loss.
Speak to your child directly. Even if your child can’t hear you, your facial expression and the movements of your lips are helping her to understand emotions and language as she learns to read your body, face and lips.
Talk to other parents of children with hearing loss to get their insight. Through trial and error, they may have found unique, helpful ways of communicating with their infant and teaching their infant language.
Take sign language courses. Learn how to speak sign language and teach it to your child as well. Children will pick up sign language and begin to use it faster than they would begin speaking. Don’t forget to give your child plenty of love and praise as she learns to communicate with you.