By Aline Rodrigues
Hearing Australia has launched a new free book for families of children who are newly diagnosed with hearing loss from birth to 12 years old.
“Choices”, as the material is called, provides valuable information to help families confidently make the right choices for their child throughout their hearing journey.
To Alison King, Hearing Australia’s Principal Audiologist, Paediatric Services, many parents, and particularly those whose child’s hearing loss is diagnosed close to birth, find themselves swept into a completely unfamiliar world.
“We’ve created Choices to acknowledge that parents and families may be going through a difficult time and to reassure them that their child’s hearing loss is manageable and there is plenty of professional support available” she said.
Through Choices, Hearing Australia makes it easier for families to understand and find information about the range of hearing technology, communication and support services that are available to help them.
Parents like Nicole Gagen are thankful to Hearing Australia for Choices and the way it provides them with easy access to information, for example, the importance of their daughter Ella attending early invention centres and accessing the right technology.
“For us, it was great to be able to read stories from other parents who are going through the same thing and find out how important it is to establish a strong support network of family and friends together with other parents”.
Hearing Australia cares for around 14,000 children up to the age of 12 who use a hearing aid or cochlear implant and in 2019, fitted approximately 2,430 children from birth to 12 years of age with their first hearing aids.
The book is a result of years of input from audiologists, research scientists from the National Acoustic Laboratories (the research division of Hearing Australia), professionals who specialise in working with deaf and hard of hearing children, parents and community groups.
“Families told us that one of the important things they need and value at this time is a source of accurate, unbiased information. In response to this feedback, we created Choices,” says Kim Terrell, Managing Director, Hearing Australia.
“We collaborated with Aussie Deaf Kids, UsherKids, Parents of Deaf Children, The Deaf Society and Deaf Services and I would like to thank everyone for providing their invaluable knowledge, experience and support”.
Choices has been produced in both printed and eBook format and is available on the Hearing Australia website or at Hearing Australia Centres.