How to communicate with your child is often the first of many big questions that parents ask once they find out their child has a hearing loss.
Communication is essential to your child's development and wellbeing, no matter which communication options you choose. Research has shown that a child who receives a lot of language input from an early age, whether it's signed or spoken, has far better outcomes than children who don't. However you will find many often-contradictory documents stating which would be more beneficial.
Deafness, or hearing loss, happens when one or more parts of the ear are not working effectively. This includes those who may describe themselves as having a ‘hearing loss’, ‘hearing impairment’ or as ‘deaf’, and includes children who have glue ear.
Understanding childhood deafness and its causes is explained very well on the UK website National Deaf Children's Society
In New Zealand when you see the word 'Deaf' spelt with a capital 'D' this refers to a person or group who identifies themself as part of distinct community with its own culture. New Zealand Sign language (NZSL) is the glue that binds that culture together.
On this website we use deaf or hard of hearing (all lower case) to include all people who experience hearing loss, we use Deaf when referring to a group or organisation that is part of the Deaf community or when describing an individual who refers to themself as having a Deaf identity.
The technology available to deaf or hard of hearing people is progressing at an amazing rate.
There are many different options in regards to hearing aids, with a number of companies producing them around the world.
A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing'.
Unilateral Hearing Loss is the loss of hearing in one ear – can be mild to profound (deaf).
The Ministry of Education's assistive technology service endeavours to ensure that students with special education needs have the right technology at the right time to remove barriers to learning and to raise achievement.
The Centre for Assistive Technology (CAT) maintains up-to-date knowledge of a wide range of assistive technology options that will support students with special education needs in New Zealand; and provides advice, support and information on assistive technology solutions.
CAT Information sheet for deaf and hard of hearing (Word, 105Kb)