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How You Can Help Your Child

Your child with auditory neuropathy may need different help from children with other kinds of hearing loss. She may also need different kinds of help as she gets older. This is because her hearing loss may change.

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Help your child learn language
Like all children with hearing loss, children with AN need to learn language. Children with auditory neuropathy often learn language best when they use their sight to help them. If it is important to you that your child can communicate with hearing people, you might want her to learn an English-based sign language or cued speech. Or you may want her to learn ASL and be more a part of Deaf culture. Read our section on communication choices to learn more about the different ways to communicate.

Use technology to help your child communicate
Technology can also help children with Auditory Neuropathy communicate:

  • Hearing aids do not usually help people with auditory neuropathy. That is because hearing aids make the sounds louder but not clearer.
  • FM and Sound Field systems help some children understand what other people are saying.
  • Cochlear implants help some children with auditory neuropathy learn to hear and speak. Read one family's story about getting a cochlear implant for their son with auditory neuropathy.

Help your child cope with AN
Auditory neuropathy can be confusing and frustrating for both you and your child. Just think how you would feel if you could hear sometimes and not hear other times. Or if people think you can hear them but you can't understand what they are saying.

Talk to your child about how she feels. Let her tell you when she is upset. You may be able to think of things she can do that will help.

Talk to other parents of children with AN or to adults with AN. Join the auditory neuropathy listserv. This is a discussion group where parents talk about their children with AN. You can ask questions and get support from other parents.

When your child has AN plus other conditions
Some children with AN have other conditions too, like cerebral palsy (CP). The same things that caused the AN, like being born too early, may have also caused other conditions. If your child has other conditions plus AN, your doctor may also send you for other medical tests.

Learn more about auditory neuropathy

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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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