After a few days, the initial shock began to ease, and I found myself beginning to talk about it and start processing. In the time since discussing it with others has helped immensely. Both for myself in terms of processing and also in order to educate others. If you’re struggling to process a diagnosis and can’t fathom talking about it, know that you are not alone. But over time, you may find that discussing it helps you heal. Here are a few tips for how to talk about your child’s hearing loss diagnosis.
It’s scary to discuss your child’s diagnosis in the early days, but talking something through also helps you process what is happening. Of course, you don’t have to talk about your child’s diagnosis with anyone, but for many, it’s helpful to discuss and begin to process. If the thought of discussing the diagnosis makes you panic, choose someone you are close to and trust immensely, someone you can be vulnerable with. Sit down with them and explain that this isn’t easy, but you know you need to talk about it. The people close to you will understand and will allow you to say whatever you need to and experience any emotions you have.
If talking about your child’s hearing loss is something that causes anxiety or sadness for you, don’t jump in all at once. Start with small pieces, ones you feel comfortable divulging. In many cases, this may mean sticking to just the facts and not discussing any of your feelings around the diagnosis. And that is perfectly okay. You are not obligated to feel a certain way or to discuss your feelings with anyone until you determine that you are ready.
If you’re not ready to talk, you’re not ready. You are not obligated to speak to anyone if you are not comfortable or have not yet processed yourself. But at the same time, make sure to check in with yourself and ask yourself whether it may be beneficial to have conversations about the topic. Chances are that if people are asking you questions, they are simply curious about how they can do their part to communicate with your child and help in any way possible. When it comes down to it, most people are kind and just want to understand a topic they may be unfamiliar with at first.
Once you are ready to talk about your child’s diagnosis, you’ll quickly find that the best way to do so, especially with those not familiar with hearing loss, is to just be honest and straight forward. Explain your child’s level of loss and their hearing technology. In some cases, like with care providers, you will have to explain the technology more in-depth so that they are comfortable understanding how it works and why it is necessary for your child. They will likely have questions, so just do your best to answer them. If something comes up that you are unsure of, tell them you will get in touch with your audiologist and get the answer for them.
As a mom, it was and still is one of my biggest fears that my son would often be singled out or not included in activities with other children. He’s still young, so we haven’t encountered this yet. But when I discuss his hearing loss with other adults, I make it clear that he is just like every other kid, but he just needs a little help hearing. His hearing loss shouldn’t leave him out of any activities, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Most people probably know this, but it’s still important to reinforce when discussing your child’s diagnosis.
Obviously everyone is different and processes unexpected news at a different pace. One person’s path to acceptance may differ completely from another’s. But when it comes down to it, it’s important to know how to communicate about your child, because it’s something that you will not be able to avoid. It may feel uncomfortable at first, or make you sad, but it’s very likely that over time, it will also help you heal and gain an appreciation for the journey you are on.