Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing
When Julie Swaim’s ten-month-old son was diagnosed with profound hearing loss, she and her husband received a lot of advice from others who had traveled that road themselves. Today her son has graduated from college, is married and professionally employed so Swaim is putting her personal experience to work for other parents who find themselves in the same situation.
Swaim, the Early Intervention Parent Consultant at Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), will connect with parents, caregivers and guardians of newly identified children with hearing loss worldwide through Listen-Learn-Link, AG Bell’s confidential, bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline. The hotline is part of AG Bell’s Cradle to Career initiative. Hearing technology companies Cochlear and ReSound partnered with AG Bell on the launch of this resource.
Available Monday through Friday, the newly created hotline can be accessed by dialing 1-833-575-5465 or emailing [email protected] Zoom video conference calls are available upon request for International residents.
“Through the New Parent Hotline, I hope to help other parents navigate their journey,” Swaim says on the AG Bell website. In addition to raising a child with hearing loss, Swaim is also a seven-year veteran in the field of early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI). She will connect parents to resources related to hearing loss in order to help them navigate the challenges and identify important next steps.
Reach the New Parent Hotline by calling 1-833-575-5465 or emailing [email protected]
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, early diagnosis of hearing loss is crucial to the development of speech, language, cognitive and psychosocial skills. Data on newborn hearing loss varies, with roughly 1.4 babies per 1,000 born with hearing loss. Research from a 2005 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate five of every 1,000 children between the ages of 3 and 17 are impacted by hearing loss. The CDC also estimates at least 12.5 percent of children and adolescents between the ages of six and 19 have suffered permanent hearing damage due to exposure to excessive noise. More information on hearing loss in children can be found on our website.
Medical professionals recommend all children receive newborn hearing screening at birth, with appropriate intervention beginning no later than six months of age. If you suspect your child, or any other member of your family, may have hearing loss, schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation as soon as possible. To find a hearing healthcare professional for your family, search our clinic directory.