By Valli Gideons
They may look normal but they don’t hear normal.
If you speak in a quiet voice, they can not hear you.
When they are in a place with background noise, it is extremely hard to hear (outdoors, a gym, a restaurant, on the playground, near the ocean).
If they don’t hear you the first time; don’t get frustrated. Just repeat it. No need to shout.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing make very different choices; there is not a one-size-fits-all way to navigate your personal experience.
Avoid covering your mouth when you speak; they can’t read your lips if they can’t see your mouth.
Tap them on the shoulder before you speak to them.
If you talk from across the room or with your back turned, they will miss most or all of what you say.
Don’t leave them out, by saying, “never mind.” It’s isolating.
When the magnet on the device is off, the cochlear implant does not work and they can’t hear anything.
Be patient. Frustration cuts. Kids who are deaf often read body language better than the average person.
Most people born deaf never know the cause.
Listening with implants is exhausting. Kids need time to decompress or they will act out. It is harder than it looks.
Understanding social nuances is really challenging when you are hard of hearing.
In the end, they are resilient, adaptable kids living in a hearing world trying to find their way.
Valli Gideons is a military bride who writes about navigating through the fog of raising kids with cochlear implants, military life and other things from the heart. You can read more from her on her blog “My Battle Call” at https://valligideons.wordpress.com/
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