According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 15% of school-age children have low- or high-frequency pediatric hearing loss of at least 16 decibels in one or both ears. If your child is one of this population, you may wonder how you can help them navigate social situations. We provide tips on how to do this below.
The Early Years
During your child’s first years, you can help them with socialization by:
- Scheduling play dates. This is crucial even for very young children in order to learn to interact with others their age. Seeing you interact with your peers in appropriate ways can also be beneficial, so invite the other child’s parents over as well.
- Joining a music class. Music plays an essential role in auditory development. In addition, your child will enjoy participating with other kids their age.
- Reading books. Reading together and discussing ideas is also important for speech-language development. If you can, look for books that represent your child so they feel less alone and their hearing loss is normalized.
- Making your environment auditory-friendly. Whether you’re trying to give your child instructions or your child is enjoying a play date, try to eliminate as much background noise as possible so your child can follow along and communicate successfully.
The School Years
When your child reaches school age, you can help with socialization by:
- Meeting with other families. When your child makes a friend at school, reach out to their family so they can see each other after school hours. It may be the case that one good friendship opens the door to others.
- Enrolling them in after-school activities. Being able to explore their interests with others who share them will greatly benefit your child’s self-esteem and social skills.
- Talking to their teachers and coaches. It’s crucial that your child’s teacher and coaches at Seattle Public Schools understands their hearing loss and the best ways to communicate with them.
For more information about ways to improve your child’s social skills, pediatric hearing tests or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic today.