Audiologists are often the first professionals to deliver the diagnosis of hearing loss. Experienced audiologists know that families' reactions vary considerably and will be influenced by several factors. For example, when are they learning about the hearing loss? Is it during the Newborn Hearing Screen? Is this a later identification? Have the parents suspected that there was a problem? Is there a history of hearing loss in the family? Is the family a member of the Deaf culture? These factors and numerous others will impact the reaction of families to the diagnosis of hearing loss.
What are some practical strategies that would be helpful for professionals who have the responsibility of delivering the diagnosis?
Offer referrals to other families who have children with hearing loss. Know that some families will be ready to interact with others and some will not. Be sensitive to either situation and ask again at a later date if needed. Summarize the session with a brief plan for the next step to be taken. Knowing what to expect next can be comforting to families who are new to dealing with children who have special needs.