Professional counselling is utmost necessary as that guides the patient and their family to go in a right direction. Involving both patients and their family member in a counselling is necessary to take any further decision. Counselling should always be client-centred.
There are two kinds of counselling: informational counselling, where the audiologist tells the facts, and support counselling, where the audiologist helps them deal with emotions and feelings.
Informational CounsellingProviding information about hearing loss and management, and very little information about feelings and emotions, is the basis of informational counseling. We counsel the patient and their family member to understand an audiogram, degree and type of hearing loss so they can answer questions about, so they can understand what their hearing loss means. They need to understand the effect of hearing loss on language, academics, and literacy. They need to know how to advocate for themselves, how to ask for help when they need it, and how to explain problems they are having.
If the hearing issue is with a child or a new born, then it is essential for their parents to take immediate and quick action to give their child a security at society. Social skills are dependent on language. If children have good language, they will have a much easier time socializing. In the early years, children with hearing loss usually socialize well. But, as they get older and language becomes more complex, if language is delayed they will have a much harder time communicating and socializing with their peers.
As children get older and become more aware of their hearing loss, they start to feel different and they begin to resist things that can help them. They may decide they are not going to wear an FM system anymore. They may refuse to go to therapy. They may not be willing to advocate for themselves.
Support CounsellingMost hearing loss is now identified at birth. If we move quickly to fit children with appropriate amplification devices and enroll them in an auditory therapy program, a child’s listening age will be equal to their chronological age. Children can be fit with technology and start therapy early so that their language delays will be minimized or eliminate. That is an enormous advantage.
One disadvantage that some parents see to early identification is that they have not developed a relationship with their children before they have to deal with the fact that they have a child with a disability.
At times children with slightly older age, we ask children what they want to know about their hearing loss. A number of children have asked, “Am I going to have this hearing loss all the time, and is it going to get worse?” We have to figure out what a child wants to know and move from there. Children may also ask about what happens if they do not wear hearing aids or when they will be old enough to not wear their hearing aids anymore. We need to discuss those issues with them honestly