If you are looking for a way to talk to your young children or grandchildren about your hearing loss, Papa, Can You Hear Me Now?, a new children’s book by audiologist Dr. Amit Gosalia, may be the answer. With colorful illustrations and simple to understand language, the book tells a positive story about the ways that hearing aids can help bring families closer.
New Book Highlights the Power of Hearing Aids
While the story is simple, its overall message is clear: Hearing aids help with communication. In Anna’s first visit to her Papa’s house, Papa replies strangely to Anna’s questions because he mishears them. He sits quietly at the dinner table, disengaged from the conversation. Anna worries her Papa might be angry with her since he is less interactive.
Anna’s next visit is better because her Papa is now using hearing aids. He is attentive and engaged at family meals and responds appropriately to her questions. Anna asks him why he was angry with her at the previous visit, and he explains that he wasn’t angry, he just couldn’t hear as well as he can now that he has hearing aids.
As hearing aid wearers, we know that hearing aids do not solve all listening problems, especially in loud settings or where there are multiple speakers. Hearing aids are most impactful in one-on-one conversations in quiet settings, like the one in this story. These nuances are overlooked, but rightly so, keeping the dialogue at an appropriate age level.
How to Teach Grandchildren About Hearing Loss
Young children are often difficult to understand. They may mumble, or slur their words together, and typically have softer and higher pitched voices. That is, when they are not shrieking with delight or terror. This manner of speaking makes it hard to understand them under the best of conditions. With hearing loss, it can be even tougher, especially with age-related hearing loss, which tends to occur in the higher frequencies.
In my earlier post “How to Talk to Your Grandchildren About Hearing Loss,” I share several tips for educating young children about hearing loss so they can help you hear your best. Things like getting your attention before speaking and being sure to face you when talking are simple fixes that can make the difference between a fun and a frustrating visit.
Other tips include teaching them to take turns speaking and to talk at a normal volume and pace to help with speechreading. If you miss something, be sure to ask for clarification. And keep your sense of humor intact. Mishears can be funny if you let them. Children, especially young ones, are very accepting. Show them that you are OK with your hearing loss and they will be too.
Reading books about hearing loss can be a wonderful way to explain your hearing loss and a fun activity. If you have a young child in your hearing loss live, be sure to add Papa, Can You Hear Me Now? to your reading list.
Readers, do you have trouble hearing young children?