In the Unites States, 33 babies are born with hearing loss every day, making it the leading sensory disability in the nation. A survey shows how these children and their families meet barriers when receiving the necessary services and care - both from public and private providers.
Barriers prevent proper care
A survey conducted by the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the U.S. investigated the perceptions of families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing about the quality and availability of services received.
The survey consisted of 1000 responses from parents with children under the age of 15 years who suffer from hearing loss. 80% of the respondents had a child who had benefited from newborn hearing screening as well as learned spoken language.
In the survey, the parents said that the public school options and the cost and quality of language services available were barriers to obtaining the proper care for their children.
Having a child with hearing loss can be a financial challenge. According to the survey, auditory/speech therapy services, hearing aid purchase and assistive listening devices were the top three items families rated as being areas posing the most significant financial barriers and where financial assistance would be most valuable.
Also, it was noted how the most challenging times from a financial point of view were between four and six years old, closely followed by the elementary school years.
Once the child with hearing loss turns three, educational services are provided in the States. These services focus on the needs of the child. However, the parental survey shows how the children are facing barriers during their education e.g. through a lack of flexibility from the school district and not having appropriate support from experts.
According to AG Bell, the survey provides data that can be used by professionals, policymakers, media and others to transform the future of people living with hearing loss.