Even if you weren’t teased as a child for wearing hearing aids, you may have known someone who was. Earlier hearing aid designs were bulky and very noticeable, which made anyone who wore them an easy target of bullying.
Some studies have indicated that out of the 30 percent of students in grades 6-10 who experienced bullying, those who have a disability - like hearing loss - are twice as likely to be bullied.
Common Signs of Bullying
The signs of bullying for a child with hearing loss is not so different for those who are bullied for other reasons. If your child shows any of the following, you should talk to them about their hearing loss:
Talk to Your Child
Your child most likely won’t want to discuss the bullying. Be aware of your child’s behavior. You may notice a difference in their attitude that could be related to bullying. Talk to them about the realities of their disability and figure out whether they are being treated fairly.
If your child decides to discuss the incidents they’ve faced, try to give the bully’s point of view. The bully is most likely ignorant to your child’s differences and they haven’t been taught how to behave towards someone who is different. Make sure you let the child know that it’s the bully who has the problem, and not your child.
It’s important to be honest with your child and about their concerns so that they can confide in their hearing loss issues with you. In order for your child to be able to defend themselves, have a coping mechanism that will help them handle potential bullies. You could teach them new phrases or vocabulary terms related to hearing loss so that they may discuss their hearing problems without getting upset or confused.
Know Your Child’s True Friends
Every child just wants to fit in, so some children may be bullied without realizing it. You should monitor the friendships your child has and find out what they do or talk about to detect any possible indications of bullying. Depending on how severe your child’s hearing loss is, they may not notice the social or facial cues of their friends.
If you detect that the friendship seems unfair, talk to your child about how a normal friendship should be, and what an unhealthy friendship looks like so that they are able to distinguish the circumstances themselves. You can also do a role-play with them to teach them the difference between positive and negative facial expressions, body language, and different tones of voice.
Help Your Child Find Their Interests
All children have their own individual skills that need to be discovered. Work with your child to cultivate their special skills or passion at an early age. This will give them the confidence they need to know that they can do anything, even if they have hearing loss. This is a great mindset to have as they grow up.
Educate You and Your Child
You can find a lot of information about hearing loss through the internet, blogs, or your local libraries. Let your child know that there are several communities that are dedicated to hearing loss and making the lives of those with hearing loss easier. They will be able to see that people are able to lead normal lives and do amazing things, even if they have hearing loss. You can go online and watch videos created by people who have hearing loss and learn how to deal with bullying.
It’s important to learn as much as you can about hearing loss, so that your child can navigate through the world.
Ending Bullying in Your Community
Here is a resource to help spread information and stop bullying those with hearing loss. You could also talk to your child’s school administrators and teachers to let them know about your child’s hearing loss condition and their needs. Starting a conversation will make your community safer and accessible for those of various disabilities.
Talk to a Professional
If you suspect that your child suffers from hearing loss, or if they may have failed their school’s hearing test, schedule an appointment for a free consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing Aids. We offer hearing aids that come in small, discreet sizes for any age and any range of hearing loss.