A Parent's Wish List for Audiologists:
The Parent Perspective

By Janet DesGeorges

A Parent's Wishlist

  1. We wish for a Partnership
  2. We wish for Honesty
  3. We wish for Information
  4. We wish for Amplification Choices
  5. We wish for Communication Options


1. We Wish for a Partnership

  • As a professional, you bring to the process: Education, Experience, Expertise, dedication.
  • We as parents bring to the process: Lifelong commitment, seeing our child as a whole, responsibility, the right to make choices for our child, a parent's love, family priorities and values.

2. We Wish for Honesty

  • If you don't have experience in working with infants/kids, refer us to someone who does! Explain to us the fact that "Infant/Pediatric Audiology" is a relatively new field.
  • When we ask for your professional opinion, don't be afraid to give it..but please don't deliver your opinion in "absolutes".

3. We Wish for Information

  • Provide us with the information we need to make well informed decisions.
  • If we ask a question, and you don't have the answer, help us find the resources where we can find the answer.
  • Be connected to community resources
  • Provide as much information in writing as possible.
  • Give us books, pamphlets, phone numbers, websites, support groups, anything that will be helpful to us in understanding our child's hearing loss and where to find help.
  • As children and parents grow, their choices and need for information grows and changes.
  • Respect the choices that families make. Let us, the parents, make the final decision.

4. We Wish for Choices in Amplification

  • Choices in amplification options, and associated products that will be helpful.
  • Tell us of other brands on the market, even if you don't distribute them as a dealer.
  • Don't assume we want the cheapest, most preferred, easiest, most readily available, nor the smallest hearing aid available. Allow us to make these choices.
  • Tell us of funding options, or lack thereof if that is the case.
  • Tell us that the manufacturer's will allow more than 30 days to try out a hearing aid. Tell us that they have reconditioned aids at lower cost available. Tell us when manufacturer's have extended warranties available. Tell us about loaner aids.
  • Tell us about earmold modifications.
  • Tell us about devices to help keep hearing aids on our infants and toddlers and out of their mouths, and the dog's mouth!
  • We ask that you be patient and willing to test children with as many different types of aids, until the best possible results are achieved.

5. We Wish for Choices in Communication

Its about COMMUNICATION,... not methodology...

  • What good does it do to teach a child to speak, if you give him nothing to say?
  • Deafness is not about hearing, but about communication
  • Discovering what works is what makes the choice right!

Choices in Communication...

  • Choosing a method is a process that is flexible, ongoing, and changeable.
  • Early Identification of hearing loss allows families a window of time to explore communication options.
  • The communication mode you choose is less significant in itself than how well it suits a particular child.

Communication Options...

  • Finding the right communication mode is a combination of family choice, ongoing assessment of an child, resources in the community in which you live, and resources within your own family.
  • Families want the end result to be a W.A.S.K! (Well Adjusted Successful Kid)

And the list goes on...

  • "I wish my Audiologist would read prior information on my child's hearing before we sat down with them."
  • "My wish would be that as part of every audiologists training and in every appropriate situation, they have an opportunity to learn from parents of deaf/yhh kids. Parent/family perspective."
  • "I wish that my audiologist would realize that what my son can hear in a sound proof booth is not what they hear in their classroom or the outside world."
  • "I wish that she would not pretend everything was o.k. or sugar coat the results. Give me the reality and let me figure out how to handle the information."

And on.

  • "I wish Audiologists would be informative and unbiased."
  • I wish they would listen to the parents - be open to accept the experience of a "non-professional.
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