Every day, 33 babies are born with hearing loss in the United States. These children and their families face significant barriers to receiving the services and care they need, according to a new survey released by the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
In the survey, entitled “Family Needs Assessment: Successes and Challenges, Listening to Their Voices,” 1,000 parents said public school options, the cost of listening and spoken language services, and the quality of these services available locally were barriers to obtaining the proper care for their children.
“The study’s findings underscore our country’s need for affordable, accessible hearing health care, including access to hearing technology and habilitative services, for children who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families,” association President Donald M. Goldberg said in a news release.
According to the survey, parents said:
• All periods of the child’s life included some financial challenges. The most challenging times were between 4 and 6 years old, followed closely by the elementary school years.
• Internet sources are becoming the standard for information gathering, particularly those sites with static, informational content. But the parents surveyed said they viewed blogs and personal or community-based online sources more positively than sites with pure facts and static content.
• Although social media rated the lowest as a source of information, its use is increasing. Parents with children under 5 rate the use of social media significantly higher than parents of children 6 and older.
The most positive experience on the survey was the Individualized Family Service Plan process, which focuses on the entire family while the child is under 3, and is provided under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.